A man who was carjacked at gunpoint by ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner and then reported the incident to a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy has no right to the $1.2-million reward, according to a couple also vying for the money.
Big Bear resident Rick Heltebrake’s “phone call to the personal cellphone of a sheriff deputy (not involved in the chase) occurred only after Fish and Wildlife Officers, in hot pursuit of Dorner following the Reynolds’ tip, already had identified, engaged and exchanged gunfire with Dorner,” a lawyer for Karen and Kim Reynolds wrote to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in a claim for the reward.
The Reynolds came upon the gun-wielding Dorner first. After they entered their cabin on Feb. 12, he tied them up and stole their car. After he departed, he crossed paths with two Fish and Wildlife officers and fired at them.
The Reynolds claim it was only their phone call to 911 that led to Dorner’s eventual demise. Authorities were looking for the couple’s car when they first spotted Dorner.
But here’s the rub: After the shootout with the Fish and Wildlife officers, Dorner crashed the Reynolds’ Nissan, carjacked Heltebrake’s truck at gunpoint and fled. He was spotted again and chased to a cabin where he exchanged gunfire with sheriff’s deputies until shooting himself as the cabin burned down.
Heltebrake was quoted in the days after the shooting that he was willing to share the reward with the Reynolds. In his claim to Los Angeles County officials, he says his phone call to a sheriff’s deputy after encountering Dorner helped authorities find him.
It’s unclear who, if anyone, will receive any of the $1.2 million.