Slain officer laid to rest as Los Angeles breathes a 'sigh of relief'
By Miguel Marquez and Matt Smith, CNN | 2/13/2013, 3:22 p.m.
A "sigh of relief." A widow's restrained sobs. The lingering fear of the targets, waiting to hear whether their pursuer had truly been run to ground.
A day after a man suspected to be renegade ex-cop Christopher Dorner died in a blazing mountain cabin, police from around the Los Angeles area and beyond gathered to bury one of their own Wednesday. A squad of bagpipers led Michael Crain's flag-draped casket through a cordon of blue uniforms into a church in Riverside, the Los Angeles suburb where he served 11 years on the force.
The mourners who packed the church included California Gov. Jerry Brown, his Highway Patrol chief and law enforcement from an alphabet soup of agencies around the region.
"I knew that communities would reach out, and I knew a lot of people loved Mike," Regina Crain, the slain officer's widow, told them as she choked back tears. "And I knew that I would have support no matter what. But I really did not realize the sheer scale of this, and how many people are touched by his life. It gives me really great comfort to see that, and I want to thank you all."
Investigators say Crain was shot and killed by Dorner, a fired Los Angeles cop who launched a vendetta against his old department last week. They blame the 33-year-old former Navy officer for the deaths of Crain and a still-unnamed San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy killed in Tuesday's fiery standoff. He is also accused of killing the daughter of a former LAPD captain and her fiance and of shooting three other cops, including Crain's partner. The violence spree began February 3.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said authorities have a "reasonable belief" that the body found in a burned-out cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains late Tuesday is Dorner's. But while the SWAT teams that prowled the city in search of the former Navy officer have stood down, the officers detailed to guard his potential victims remain in place.
LAPD: Cabin in manhunt too hot to enter Audio of suspect's shootout with police Dorner's friend: He was fun, intelligent LA Mayor: 'Relief' after Dorner standoff
"I think we all are breathing a sigh of relief," Villaraigosa said Wednesday. "We do believe that it is the body of Christopher Dorner, but we don't know for a certainty. And until we do, those police officers who were targeted will continue to be protected. That's the least we could do."
Authorities say Dorner launched a guerrilla war against the Los Angeles Police Department over what he considered his unfair dismissal in 2009.
It wasn't clear when a formal identification could be made of the charred remains found in the cabin near Big Bear Lake, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles, after a Tuesday shootout with police. Until then, "a lot of apprehension" remains in the ranks of the LAPD, Lt. Andy Neiman said.
"It's been a very trying time over the last couple of weeks for all of those involved and all those families, friends and everybody that has been touched by this incident," he said.