The two people held hostage Tuesday by former Los Angles police officer Christopher Jordan Dorner say they expected the worst after they discovered Dorner inside a vacation property they own near the Big Bear mountain resort.
"I thought we were dead," said James Reynolds. "Really, pretty scary."
Reynolds and his wife Karen said Wednesday that they were the two people, not a pair of maids as was first reported, who came upon Dorner inside what was supposed to be an unoccupied rental unit.
Tuesday, the Reynolds were planning to do some work on one of the units. But the Los Angeles Times reports, "when they stumbled upon Christopher Jordan Dorner inside their condo, they were quickly bound and gagged by him so they couldn't escape and alert authorities that the fugitive former police officer was in the area."
NBC4 Los Angeles continues the story:
"Karen said she tried to run away when she recognized the man matching Dorner's description. With his gun drawn, the man yelled at the pair to stay calm.
" 'We saw so many pictures of him,' Karen said. 'And actually, while he talked to me, he said, I know you've been seeing the news. I know you know who I am.'
"Karen said the man was 'very, very calm' as he 'very methodically' bound her and her husband's hands and legs, pulled pillowcases over their heads and stuffed towels in their mouths.
" 'You really could tell that he was professionally trained,' she said."
The man, who police believe was Dorner, left in the couple's car. They waited a minute or so to be sure he was gone before trying to free themselves. When they were able to do that, Karen called police. That began the end of the 10-day drama. By nightfall, after a shootout that left a sheriff's deputy dead, the man police believe was Dorner was thought to be a charred corpse in a burned mountain home he had fled to. Authorities say it may take days or weeks to firmly establish whether it is Dorner.
Dorner, who was fired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2009, had threatened many current members of that department in an online manifesto. He's suspected of killing four people — two of them police officers — during a crime spree that led to a massive manhunt across Southern California.
In related news, the AP writes, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said Wednesday that the fire at the home where the man believed to be Dorner was holed up was not set on purpose. "We did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out," he said. The AP adds that, "his deputies lobbed pyrotechnic tear gas into the cabin, and it erupted in flames, [the sheriff] said. McMahon did not say directly that the tear gas started the blaze, and the cause of the fire was under investigation."