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Alleged US cop killer died from single shot to head

San Bernardino County Sheriff's homicide investigators work on February 15, 2013 in Big Bear, California
San Bernardino County Sheriff's homicide investigators work on the case of Christopher Dorner on February 15, 2013 in Big Bear, California. Alleged US cop killer Dorner died from a single gunshot wound to the head, a coroner said Friday, saying it appeare

Alleged US cop killer Christopher Dorner died from a single gunshot wound to the head that appeared to be self-inflicted, a coroner said.

The doctor who examined the body concluded that "the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head," said San Bernardino County coroner Kevin Lacy, giving details from the results of a six-hour autopsy.

"We are not yet able to speak about the manner of death and tell you whether or not it was the result of a self-inflicted wound or another round," he told a press conference.

But he said, "while we are still assembling the reports and putting it together, the implication seems to be that the wound that took Christopher Dorner's life was self-inflicted."

Police stand watch at Angelus Oaks, California, on February 13, 2013
Police stand watch at Angelus Oaks, California, on February 13, 2013. The ex-Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) cop went on the run last week after allegedly killing a couple and a policeman, and wounding three people.

The ex-Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) cop went on the run last week after allegedly killing a couple and a policeman, and wounding three people.

Another officer was killed and one wounded before the cabin in which Dorner was holed up burned in a fire.

At Friday's news conference, officials also announced that they had found a cache of weapons with Dorner, as well as high-capacity magazines either in his possession or at sites connected with him during the manhunt.

Fired Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner seen in an undated photo wearing a military uniform
Fired Los Angeles Police Department officer Christopher Dorner seen in an undated photo wearing a military uniform.

Dorner had posted online a chilling manifesto in which he threatened to kill policemen and their families, and blamed the LAPD for treating him unfairly in his sacking in 2008.

The manhunt came to a climax Tuesday in a cabin near a snow-covered ski resort, after Dorner was spotted in a stolen vehicle and then fled on foot after crashing one vehicle and carjacking another.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said that there was a prolonged firefight with the 33-year-old, who barricaded himself in the cabin after a six-day manhunt.

When they had exhausted other means, SWAT officers used a tractor-type device to open up the windows and walls of the cabin, and inserted a pyrotechnic chemical, to try to force Dorner to surrender.

A blaze erupted, starting at one corner of the cabin. As the flames took hold, after a period of no firing, "We heard a distinct single gunshot coming from inside the house," said McMahon.

The sound of it "indicated to me (that) a different kind of weapon had been fired," he added.

Among those Dorner is accused of killing were the daughter of a former LAPD captain involved in Dorner's dismissal and her fiance.

Dorner was booted out of the LAPD in 2009, after a police disciplinary board found him guilty of making false statements against his training officer, whom he had accused of cruel mistreatment of a disabled man.

In his online manifesto, he lodged accusations of racism and abusive behavior against other officers in the LAPD as well.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said last week that he would reopen the investigation into Dorner's firing from the police department.

He said he was doing so "not to appease a murderer" but to reassure the public that his department -- which over the years has battled charges of racial discrimination and police brutality -- is fair and transparent.

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