Wardens with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife were the first law enforcement officers to come into contact Tuesday with a man presumed to be Christopher Dorner, the ex-LAPD officer at the center of a massive manhunt.
About 12:20 p.m. authorities received a report of a stolen vehicle -- a purple Nissan -- in the 1200 block of Club View Drive in Big Bear Lake.
Fifteen minutes later, Fish and Wildlife officers were driving down Highway 38 when they noticed the reported stolen vehicle driving between two buses in the opposite lane, Lt. Patrick Foy said.
The wildlife officer turned his vehicle around and put out a radio call reporting the pursuit.
"He realized he had been identified," Foy said.
The suspect turned the vehicle down a side road and eluded wildlife officials, Foy said.
Additional wardens responded to look for the suspect.
Moments later, a warden noticed a white truck coming down the road -- being driven erratically at a high speed, Foy said.
The official took a close look at the driver and recognized the suspect, who rolled his window down and fired at the approaching wardens -- striking their truck several times.
The wardens returned fire, but it was unclear if the suspect was hit, Foy said.
The man left the truck and escaped on foot.
Officials later discovered that the suspect had lost control of the purple Nissan, crashing it on the side road. He then carjacked
The suspect, who authorities believe was Dorner, ran into a cabin where he barricaded himself.
One sheriff's deputy was fatally wounded and another injured in that gunfight.
"It's a very sad day for law enforcement," Foy said.