A single gunshot was heard Tuesday as police moved in on a mountain cabin where former US policeman and suspected cop killer Christopher Dorner was believed to be barricaded, the LA Times reported.
A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) spokesman was meanwhile cited as saying the force believed that Dorner died inside the burning cabin near Big Bear, in the mountains east of Los Angeles.
Officers broke the cabin windows, pumped in tear gas and called for Dorner to surrender over a loudspeaker, the LA Times said. When they got no reply, they deployed a vehicle to rip down the cabin walls.
It did so "one by one, like peeling an onion," a law enforcement official told the newspaper. When it got to the last wall, a single gunshot was heard, before flames began to spread through the structure.
KTLA 5 television cited LAPD spokesman Andrew Smith as saying: "We believe he is dead. We believe he was in that cabin. We believe he was burned up in that cabin."
Smith had earlier said that the LAPD was getting its information from the San Bernadino County Sheriff's office, the lead agency in the operation near Big Bear, two hours to the east of Los Angeles.
San Bernadino Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman confirmed that one deputy had been killed and another injured in an exchange with Dorner, who has been on the run since last week when he allegedly killed three people.
The suspect was "described as looking similar to Christopher Dorner, and we have reason to believe it is him," she said, while adding: "That is unconfirmed at this time."
Police launched a massive manhunt last week for Dorner, who had already been accused of killing three people, and threatened to kill other police in a chilling online manifesto.