Big Bear Lake
Los Angeles Police officials said late Tuesday they were unsure how a fire started that burned down the cabin with fugitive Christoper Dorner inside, but chilling audio captured by KCAL 9 reporter Carter Evans during a live TV broadcast may offer a clue.
The "about" section for the video above, titled "Christopher Dorner Shootout - Cops say 'Burn It Down'" published on Feb 12, 2013 by YouTube user "dew e" says: "No, I did not edit this. This is recorded with my cellphone. This was recorded by reporter Carter Evans. It is not radio chatter that is being heard. He says earlier in the broadcast, (which I can also upload) that he is speaking to them via his speakerphone on the ground from the middle of the shootout, and the cops can also be heard telling him "get the fuck out of here pal". The timestamp of this event is ~1:35pm."
This video fills in a very important gap in news coverage from Big Bear Lake. During this time, authorities asked news helicopters to turn off their cameras and asked journalists not to give out information on social media for the safety of officers since Dorner could be watching, according to the Associated Press. But as Digital Journal reported earlier, at least one journalist was still on the scene: Carter Evans, a CBS2/KCAL9 reporter.
Per the transcript from KCAL9:
BACKGROUND: yelling, faintly “Get out of here, get out of here”
SANDRA: Is that someone yelling in the background, Carter?
CARTER: Yeah, we got authorities yelling at us to get out of here, but we don’t know where to go, frankly, to tell you the truth.
Evans was on the air describing the action at Big Bear Lake to anchor Sharon Mitchell and TV viewers via cellphone when police units approached a cabin believed to be occupied by the suspected fugitive.
SANDRA: Carter what are you hearing, what are you seeing.
CARTER: Uh, I see authorities, I’m going to have to speak quieter now, I have you on the speaker phone. I see authorities honing in on an area on a cabin that is about 200 feet ahead of us right now. I see a lot of these authorities moving to take cover themselves.
[SOUND OF GUNFIRE]
CARTER: I hear some screaming, you heard all that gunfire.
SANDRA: That was gunfire.
CARTER: I see a team of sheriff’s deputies in full-on fatigues with weapons drawn running toward us right now. We are down on the ground behind the wheels of our car right now and the door is open, I am talking to you on the speaker phone. We are right, right in the center of the action here, we are right where this is happening.
CARTER: We’re trying to, we’re not moving from our vehicle, because this is a very fluid situation. We’re staying here, we don’t want to get caught in the crossfire ourselves.
UNIDENTIFIED: Hey you! Come here!
UNIDENTIFIED: You! Come here! [Unintelligible]
[SOUND OF RAPID-FIRE GUNFIRE]
UNIDENTIFIED: Hey! Get the f— out of here now!
[SOUND OF GUNFIRE]
[SOUND OF GUNFIRE]
SANDRA: I want to check back with Carter Evans. Carter? Are you there?Burn it down
With no response from Evans, Mitchell resumed the broadcast.
"It sounds like police officials were trying to move Carter out of the area to a safer area. We do know authorities are searching for a man in a Dodge pickup truck," Mitchell said, her voice trailing off.
At that point, Mitchell, and her viewers, apparently realize that Evans is still in the area. Instead of speaking, it seemed as though he let his phone do the reporting for him, as the next words heard were:
0:19 Burn that smoke grenade out
0:23 Burn that fkn house down
0:38 Gonna burn it down
0:40 Get it goin' right now
0:41 Fkn burn this mother fkr
Before the recording ends, Mitchell, sounding a little flustered, tells viewers: "Police officers...understandably... are upset."
And now the viewing public seems outraged at the police. One tweet captures the mood: "This whole #Dorner thing is bizarre. The police were recorded saying they'd burn the cabin, yet they deny it..."
Indeed, The AP writes: Flames engulfed the building — images that were broadcast on live television around the world. "TV helicopters showed the fire burning freely with no apparent effort to extinguish it."
"We have reason to believe that it is him," said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman, adding that she didn't know how the fire started. She noted there was gunfire between the person in the cabin and officers around the home before the blaze began.