Skip to main content

Authorities to decide fate of Dorner reward money

By Melissa Gray, CNN
February 16, 2013 -- Updated 1515 GMT (2315 HKT)
Detectives investigate the scene where officers fired on a vehicle they believed was Christopher Dorner's on February 7, in Torrance, California. Two people in the truck were wounded. Detectives investigate the scene where officers fired on a vehicle they believed was Christopher Dorner's on February 7, in Torrance, California. Two people in the truck were wounded.
HIDE CAPTION
Photos: Manhunt for Christopher Dorner
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
Ex-cop at center of California manhunt
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • City put up $1 million reward in Dorner case
  • Question is whether anyone met wording of offer
  • Dorner died in mountain cabin east of Los Angeles

(CNN) -- It's the million-dollar reward that's raising a million-dollar question: Who, if anyone, is entitled to the money offered in the hunt for Christopher Dorner?

The catch is that Dorner, the rogue former Los Angeles police officer who sparked a massive manhunt, was never captured. He died after a shootout and fire at a California mountain cabin this week after, authorities say, he killed four people and wounded three others.

The city of Los Angeles put up the $1 million reward Sunday, together with other jurisdictions, groups, and private donors. It had been a few days since Dorner was last seen, and they wanted to generate tips.

Dorner died from single gunshot to head

"Collectively this group, led by my office, is posting a reward of $1 million for information that will lead to Mr. Dorner's capture," said Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

Now that the hunt for Dorner is over, the Los Angeles Police Department says it's deciding what to do with the reward money.

"More than 20 jurisdictions and entities are involved in this reward, so all of them will be coming together to collectively determine whether any individual(s) qualify for it," the LAPD said in a statement Friday. "Our personal hope is that the reward will be distributed, but we must follow the rules and respect the procedures of each entity."

Former girlfriend: Dorner was stressed out

The police department said they have had a lot of inquiries about the reward. It reminded the public that no money can be distributed until the investigation is complete.

Dorner victim wants $1 million reward
Coroner: Dorner died of gunshot to head
Dorner's ex: 'Something wasn't right'
Dorner hostages: We thought he'd kill us

One person who feels he deserves the reward is camp ranger Rick Heltebrake, one of Dorner's last victims. Heltebrake was driving Tuesday near Big Bear Lake, California, when Dorner approached him, put a gun to his head and stole his truck.

Dorner was on the run from California Fish and Wildlife wardens who had spotted him on the area's icy roads. Dorner and the wardens exchanged gunfire before Dorner crashed his car, carjacked Heltebrake's truck and drove it to the nearby cabin.

Ex-LAPD cop gains sympathizers on social media

After Dorner drove off, Heltebrake said he ducked off the road and called his friend, a sheriff's deputy, to alert him.

Speaking Thursday to CNN about the reward, Heltebrake said, "I do think I deserve it. I believe it was my phone call to that sheriff's deputy that directed them to the location where Dorner was, and I believe it was my phone call that put an end to the largest manhunt in Los Angeles history."

Heltebrake said he wants to use the reward money to set up college funds for the children of the two law enforcement officers killed by Dorner. He also mentioned possible improvements to the scout camp where he works, which he said is rundown.

"Did anybody ever believe that he was going to be captured and convicted? I don't think so," Heltebrake told CNN's Randi Kaye. "I think they put that (clause) in there possibly to have an out for later. I believe that that money was put up by the private sector and basically corporate donors, not from taxpayer money or anything like that, and I believe those people wanted that money to go somewhere, and I'd like to do some good with it."

Heltebrake said he could split the money with Karen and Jim Reynolds, the couple who encountered Dorner in their Big Bear-area condo Tuesday morning, before the carjacking. Though Dorner tied up the couple, they managed to free themselves and call 911.

"If they want half of it, I believe they're deserving of half of it," Heltebrake said.

Speaking Wednesday after their ordeal, the Reynolds said they were simply happy to be alive and hadn't thought much about the reward money.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
L.A. cop attacks
February 16, 2013 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
Autopsy results on former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner show he died from a single gunshot wound to the head that was likely self-inflicted.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1956 GMT (0356 HKT)
Medical examiners have positively identified the body of the renegade former Los Angeles police officer Christopher Dorner, the man authorities say killed four people and wounded three others in a vendetta against his old comrades.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
An ex-girlfriend of slain murder suspect Christopher Dorner said the former L.A. policeman worked in a pressure cooker and she was afraid he would target her after she heard he was the object of a manhunt.
February 14, 2013 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
The life and apparent death of Dorner, who declared war against police corruption, has generated a social media fringe of fans who are asserting that he was really a hero seeking justice, despite being a suspect in four killings.
March 8, 2013 -- Updated 0231 GMT (1031 HKT)
In the wake of Chris Dorner's death, much of the talk has already turned to his political views.
February 9, 2013 -- Updated 1450 GMT (2250 HKT)
The manhunt for a highly trained gunman suspected of targeting cops and their families in Southern California has some startling similarities and clear differences as well.
February 14, 2013 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
It's happened since at least the 1970s when those who knew serial killer Ted Bundy roundly described him as charming.
February 9, 2013 -- Updated 1446 GMT (2246 HKT)
The dreadful shooting sprees of the past few months, which claimed dozens of innocent lives, shocked and unnerved millions of Americans.
February 11, 2013 -- Updated 1638 GMT (0038 HKT)
Suspect Christopher Dorner sent a DVD, letter and bullet-riddled coin to Anderson Cooper. Fmr. LAPD Chief Bratton reacts.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 0027 GMT (0827 HKT)
There was a killer on the loose and Los Angeles was on edge -- again.
April 24, 2013 -- Updated 0128 GMT (0928 HKT)
Click through our gallery, which captures the scene of the California manhunt.
February 14, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
In calmer days, the two California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers riding in a truck rolling down State Route 38 would have been thinking about squirrel hunting or fishing regulations.
February 9, 2013 -- Updated 1437 GMT (2237 HKT)
Alleged cop killer Christopher Jordan Dorner published an 11-page manifesto, apparently seeking to explain or justify murder. Targeting the children and spouses of officers is one of many specific threats Dorner makes.
ADVERTISEMENT