The next five responding deputies got into a fierce firefight with bullets whizzing through trees. They deployed smoke bombs to block Dorner's view so they could pull the wounded to safety as other officers provided cover with a hail of bullets, Capt. Gregg Herbert said.
Worried he was lying in wait to ambush them, they eventually used heavy machinery to peel back walls and windows to see if they could see Dorner, who used smoke bombs to obscure their view. They eventually resorted to the tear gas, though McMahon said they didn't intend to start the fire.
The search for the former cop began last week after authorities said Dorner launched a violent revenge campaign against the Los Angeles Police Department for firing him, warning in an angry manifesto on Facebook that he would bring "warfare" to LAPD officers and their families.
The former Navy reservist was dismissed for filing a false report that accused his training officer of kicking a mentally disabled man.
His first victims were Monica Quan and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, both gunned down outside their Orange County condominium Feb. 3. Quan was the daughter of former LAPD Capt. Randal Quan, who Dorner said he felt represented the department's interests over his own before a disciplinary board.
After ambushing and killing Riverside police officer Michael Crain and seriously wounding his partner at a traffic light, Dorner fled to the San Bernardino National Forest, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. His burned-out truck, with a broken axle, was found within walking distance of the Big Bear Lake condo.
Dorner entered the condo through a door left unlocked for a maintenance man, McMahon said. He locked it and stayed there as officers went door-to-door checking vacation cabins and condos and used heat-seeking helicopters and metal detectors to search for the fugitive in the forest.
It was the condo's owners, Karen and Jim Reynolds, who finally found Dorner when they arrived Tuesday and unlocked the door that they assumed the maintenance man had locked. Dorner pointed a gun at them, tied them up and fled in their purple Nissan Rogue SUV.
"I really thought it could be the end," Karen Reynolds said afterward. Even though she was bound, she managed to call 911 moments after he left.