Christopher Dorner Death: Sheriff Defends Tactics But Suggests They May Have Been Better

"As I thought about this, if it was not our department involved in this event, we would be watching this event on TV, looking at what they were doing and asking ourselves, 'If this occurred in our county, would we be prepared to deal with it, and how would we deal with it?' So this is a learning event for law enforcement across the country. This is a very significant event."

--San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon, in his first extended interview since the Big Bear firefight that took the lives of one of his detectives and former Orange County resident Christopher Jordan Dorner.

McMahon has withstood criticism for the fiery way it all ended for Dorner, an ex-LAPD officer and former La Palma resident suspected also of killing an Irvine couple and a Riverside cop and terrorizing Southern California for several days last month. In his exclusive interview with the San Bernardino Sun, the sheriff seems to hint that the operation could have been handled better.

"Hopefully, this type of event doesn't occur again, or, if it does, it's a long time from now," McMahon is quoted as saying. "But clearly, everybody can learn something from an event like this, and I believe we'll learn some things from this event. Not that we did anything wrong, but maybe there's something we could have done better, and, when you experience an event like this, it's always an opportunity to learn."

Only sworn in as sheriff two months before the deadly Feb. 12 standoff, McMahon says in his talk with reporter John Nelson, "This type of an event is tragic, and no law enforcement leader ever wants to be in that position--where you lose an officer and one gets seriously injured in a gun battle. It's tragic. It's terrible and I hope I'm never in that position again."

Click on the link to more fascinating insights, including the sheriff:

  • claiming the manhunt trackers did not know Dorner was in the cabin until he fired at them first, in the exchange that took the life of Jeremiah McKay and wounded Deputy Alex Collins;

  • wanting to get ahold of a deputy overheard in scanner traffic saying, ""Burn the motherfucker down!" McMahon claims this was not a SWAT team member;

  • and reacting to investigative journalist Max Blumenthal's allegation that the sheriff's department engaged in an "extrajudicial execution" of Dorner.

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