A reporter's account of Dorner's final showdown: 'He could not have gotten out ... He was completely surrounded'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: We're going to tell you about so much more is going on in this investigation, and even on yesterday, when the loud bangs, flames engulfing the cabin, there was a four-hour siege that finally came to an end, but not before several gun battles between Dorner and the police.

LA Daily News reporter Doug Saunders was right in the middle of the danger zone. He joins us right now. Nice to see you, Doug.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so what happened? You were right in this spot when this shootout went down. What...

SAUNDERS: I was right there. I was on my way home from my shift. I saw all the law enforcement in Arrow Bear. They had their guns out, so I decided to check it out. So I stood by. They all raced to their cars, headed back towards Big Bear, so...

VAN SUSTEREN: How far away were you from the cabin that eventually went up in flames?

SAUNDERS: I was about -- I was about a quarter a mile away.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so you saw all the cops go running up. So what could you hear?

SAUNDERS: You know, a lot of what I heard was radio traffic, and I heard them deploy the gas. And as soon as I heard that order, there was the fire -- the cabin lit on fire.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were you the only journalist in the area, that immediate area?

SAUNDERS: I was the only journalist in that area. There was another journalist on the opposite side.

VAN SUSTEREN: Could you -- did you hear that one shot that we heard of?

SAUNDERS: I did hear that one shot.

VAN SUSTEREN: Explain it. Tell me.

SAUNDERS: Well, I heard a lot of -- a lot of, like, firecrackers. What we now know is the fire set ammunition ablaze. The ammunition exploded like firecrackers. And then one shot rang out.

VAN SUSTEREN: And what did you think that one shot was? Or what did -- I mean, obviously this is still an investigation. We're still trying to piece it together. Nobody even knows for sure if that's Dorner's body inside. But what did you surmise from that?

SAUNDERS: Well, I was under the impression it was a SWAT team that -- one of their snipers took him out. We later learned the shot came from inside the cabin.

VAN SUSTEREN: What were the police saying to you?

SAUNDERS: You know, they took me in like one of their own. You know, there was a lot of -- there was a lot of emotion there. You know, they had just lost one of their own, so they really didn't pay any attention to me.

VAN SUSTEREN: And in terms of the traffic that you were listening to, what was the audio traffic you were listening to?

SAUNDERS: Just everything that was going on down in the ravine.

VAN SUSTEREN: And what were they saying?

SAUNDERS: Well, they were talking about tactics. They were talking about deploying the gas. And that's pretty much -- about that time, they kind of pushed me back a little bit.

VAN SUSTEREN: What were they saying about their level of certainty that it was Dorner who was inside and whether or not he was inside alone or whether he had hostages?

SAUNDERS: They were unsure.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so what were they saying? I mean, did that enter into the tactical decisions?

SAUNDERS: I believe they did. You know, I don't -- I'm not a member of the sheriff's department. I'm not at liberty to a lot of what they do, but a lot of the people out there I knew, and a lot of them thought that it was him.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, you talk about losing the deputy up here. That really is -- I mean, it's tough on any police force, but this is a small police force, or sheriff's...

SAUNDERS: This is -- the sheriff's department -- you know, it's the largest county in the United States, but they have stations everywhere. This is a very tight community. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody goes to church with this deputy. They're all friends. They all have each other's phone numbers. They have dinners with each other.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, we all pretty much assume that it's Dorner whose body was found inside. I mean, but it just hasn't been proven yet. We don't know how twisted this guy is, whether he's clever enough or smart enough to do -- you know, put any sort of -- put some other body and kill there -- kill someone else and put a driver's license ... But was there any sort of escape route from that cabin that you know of? Could he have gotten out.

SAUNDERS: He could not have gotten out. He was completely surrounded. Completely surrounded. There was over 200 police officers out there. They had him surrounded.

VAN SUSTEREN: What was the level of relief when finally, it ended, by the sheriff's department?

SAUNDERS: This guy will not hurt anybody ever again, and I think that was the level -- you know, nobody wants to see anybody die, but nobody wants to see anybody die at this man's hands again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was there any discussion about trying to take him alive?

SAUNDERS: They talked about it, but again, they didn't talk about that in front of me. I'm a reporter.

VAN SUSTEREN: Doug, thank you.