A number of Los Angeles Police Department families continue to fear for their lives and will remain under police protection until the body found in a burned out cabin after a shootout Tuesday is positively identified.

Police in California have not yet confirmed whether Christopher Dorner was killed Tuesday, and said some families remain under police protection and continue to fear for their lives.

The search for the ex-Los Angeles Police Department officer ended Tuesday with a shootout at a cabin, and the discovery of a body inside. But police said Wednesday they are awaiting forensic evidence to identify the remains, widely believed to belong to Dorner.

The former police officer and U.S. Navy reservist had waged a one-man war against the LAPD and anyone associated with it, killing two police officers and the daughter of a former police captain along with her fiance. He also wounded several people.

Until Dorner's death is confirmed, police are taking no chances, said Lt. Andy Neiman of the LAPD.

"We still have some individuals in this department who are in great fear. When your life and the lives of your family are placed in jeopardy and threatened with death, that is really quite something to deal with," Neiman told reporters.

"So we have approximately a dozen or so of those protective details that will remain in place at this point. All other resources have been returned to their normal functions."

Neiman also said investigative work will continue on the double murder in which Dorner is a suspect, and the murder of another police officer, adding "we don't just stop an investigation because the suspected individual may no longer be available."

He offered no timeline as to when the body would be identified.

The former police officer had been missing for days, with police searching mountainous terrain in the Big Bear Lake area of California, all to no avail. In fact, officers were in the process of dismantling the command post which was set up to co-ordinate the search for Dorner.

As it turns out, the 33-year-old former officer was apparently hiding out in a vacant cabin located across the street from the police command post. He is now believed to have been holed up in the vacation cabin since last Thursday, four days after the deadly rampage began and with three people already dead at that time.

On Tuesday, a man believed to be Dorner ran out of the cabin, stole two cars, and after being confronted by police he barricaded himself inside another cabin and began a shootout with officers. In that firefight, one sheriff's deputy was killed and another wounded. Then the building caught fire after officers moved in with an armoured vehicle and began dismantling the structure's walls.

On Wednesday, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters police did not purposely set fire to the cabin.

“I can tell you that it was not on purpose, we did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr. Dorner out,” McMahon said.

Instead, he said that a number of canisters “that cause a lot of heat” were used on the cabin, and a “fire erupted.”

A single shot was reportedly heard from within the cabin.

Dorner never emerged and a body, believed to be his, was later found in the charred wreckage.

"We have reason to believe that it is him," San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cynthia Bachman said Tuesday, adding that she could not provide official confirmation.

The 33-year-old former officer with the Los Angeles Police Department is believed to have posted in a manifesto online that he expected to die in a shootout with police.

In the manifesto, Dorner blamed an LAPD captain for providing poor representation to him when he appeared before a police disciplinary board for filing a false report. He had claimed to be a whistleblower who was targeted, while the other officer whom Dorner had turned in, was exonerated.

Dorner claimed he was the victim of racism and said he was targeted for doing the right thing,

He vowed to get even.

"You're going to see what a whistleblower can do when you take everything from him especially his NAME!!!" the rant said. "You have awoken a sleeping giant."

The LAPD has pledged to look into Dorner’s claims he was treated unfairly, saying the department will strive for transparency.

Dorner began his run on Feb. 6 after police connected the murders of a former police captain's daughter and her fiance, with his online rantings.

Within hours of being named as a suspect, Dorner began his flight. Here are some key moments from the manhunt:

  • Feb. 6 -- After being named a suspect, Dorner tries unsuccessfully to steal a boat in San Diego to flee to Mexico.
  • Dorner then heads north, opening fire on two patrol cars in Riverside County. He shoots three officers and kills one.
  • With a description of his car broadcast all over the Southwest U.S. and Mexico, he manages to get to the mountains 128 kilometres east of Los Angeles, where his burning truck is found with a broken axle.
  • Only a short walk from the truck, Dorner manages to hole up in an empty vacation cabin where he had a front-row seat to his own manhunt -- one that was losing steam in recent days under the mistaken belief Dorner was long gone.
  • Frustrated with the lack of progress, police offer a $1 million reward for tips leading to Dorner's arrest.
  • On Tuesday, someone matching Dorner's description reportedly ties up two people and steals their car.
  • Officers spotted the stolen Nissan Dorner was believed to have taken, and gave chase. They lost the vehicle, but a short while later two other officers spot a white truck driving erratically. They believe Dorner is the driver.
  • Dorner opens fire on the officers from inside the truck, striking the vehicle more than a dozen times.
  • As Dorner is driving away in the truck, one of the officers fires on the vehicle. It isn't clear whether he hit Dorner, but the truck drives off the road, the suspect flees on foot towards a nearby cabin and a shootout begins that leaves another officer dead, one wounded, and a man, believed to be Dorner, dead.
  • The cabin's location is very close to where Dorner's pickup truck was found abandoned on a fire road six days earlier, loaded with guns and camping gear. Dorner's tracks led into the bush, but officers quickly lost his trail on the frozen ground.