Fugitive former US cop Christopher Dorner has exchanged gunfire with police near a ski resort where his burnt-out truck was found, before fleeing in a stolen truck, officials say.
At least one officer has been shot, local TV affiliate NBC 4 reported, while CNN says that police are involved in a car chase near the Californian resort of Big Bear, two hours’ drive east of Los Angeles.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has issued an advisory saying Dorner was possibly involved in a robbery in which a couple were tied up and the suspect fled in a truck. There was no confirmation the suspect was Dorner.
The 33-year-old was involved in the shooting after he tried to rob a home near Big Bear, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a law enforcement source.
Broadcaster KTLA 5 reported that two officers were injured, and that smoke grenades had been used, while schools in Big Bear were on lockdown. Roads in the area had been closed off, the TV channel says.
Live TV pictures showed law enforcement cars stopped on a mountain road, with at least one officer crouching behind a vehicle, pointing a gun into the woods beside the road.
They also showed smoke drifting up from a driveway next to a road.
There was no official confirmation of the reported incident, which came on the sixth day of a massive manhunt for Dorner, accused of killing three people and threatening to kill more police officers.
Dorner, who posted a chilling online manifesto threatening to kill policemen and their families over his 2008 sacking, was charged Monday over the killing of officer Michael Crain, a 34-year-old father of two.
The six-foot (1.8-metre) tall naval reservist is also accused of killing a couple on February 3, then ambushing two policemen last Thursday, including Crain. He also injured another officer, before going on the run.
The LA Police Department (LAPD) and other law enforcement agencies in southern California have tightened security around their facilities since Dorner went on the run last week.
The disgruntled ex-cop threatened to murder police and their families in his rambling manifesto, pledging to “bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty”.
Some 50 LAPD officers and families have been placed under special protection. The couple murdered two weeks ago included the daughter of a former LAPD officer linked to the fugitive ex-cop’s dismissal.