“Someone owes me $1 million,” Rick Heltebrake, the man whom Christopher Dorner carjacked just before his shoot-out with police on Tuesday, tells the Los Angeles Times.
“It was my call that led the officers to him,” he said. Then he paused. "I know there were two other women involved and I don’t mind parting it three ways."
How considerate. Except, allow us to suggest that — even setting aside the fact that Dorner was never captured and convicted, as the reward offer stipulated — Heltebrake is owed exactly zero dollars.
The first thing that needs to be cleared up (and this is kind of a letdown) is that the maids who were tied up by Dorner earlier in the day, broke free, and alerted police to the car Dorner was driving, were not actually maids. They were the owners of the cabin, Karen and Jim Reynolds, according to a news conference the couple gave last night.
The Reynolds had walked into their cabin on Tuesday morning to find Dorner inside. Dorner assured them he meant them no harm, but he did tie them up, gag their mouths, and put pillowcases over their heads. After Dorner fled in the couple's purple Nissan, Karen was able to break free and call the police.
A while later, Fish and Wildlife officials spotted the car in question, but Dorner managed to ditch them, and wisely decided to find a new, less conspicuous vehicle. Here's where Rick "Someone Owes Me $1 Million" Heltebrake comes in:
Dorner came across Rick Heltebrake in a white pickup. Heltebrake instantly recognized the big man as Dorner.
"He just came out of the snow at me with his gun at my head," Heltebrake told CNN affiliate KTLA. "He said, 'I don't want to hurt you. Just get out of the car and start walking.' "
Heltebrake started walking.
By Heltebrake's own account to the Today show yesterday morning, "not more than 10 seconds after that I was walking up the road, and that's when I heard a volley of gunfire. At that point I bailed into the snow and hid behind a tree and called the local deputy up here on his personal cell phone and told him what was going on."
Heltebrake's call, however, would not be necessary. The volley of gunfire Heltebrake heard was Dorner spraying a Fish and Wildlife vehicle with bullets as he passed by, at which point the authorities were well aware of Dorner's whereabouts. As the AP reports:
A warden in a wildlife vehicle is searching for Dorner when he sees a white truck heading his way, driving erratically. As the truck gets closer, the warden realizes Dorner is at the wheel and is rolling down his car window. He doesn't have time to warn two colleagues following behind him. Within seconds, the second car is sprayed with bullets. Miraculously, neither officer is struck.
As Dorner navigates a curve in the road that turns his truck back toward officers, one of the wardens empties his weapon.
Dorner crashes the truck a few miles down the road. Out of options, he runs into another cabin and barricades himself inside.
Heltebrake could have played a long game of fetch with his dog after getting carjacked and the day would have played out exactly as it did. It's nice that he took the time to call the police, but, ultimately, that phone call didn't make any difference.
Hey, we don't blame Heltebrake for trying. If you ever have the opportunity to obtain a million dollars, you should probably go for it. But if anyone gets that reward money, it's not Heltebrake.