Rick Heltebrake, a camp ranger, said he was driving when he saw a crashed purple car -- and then something terrifying.
In just moments, Heltebrake came face to face with Christopher Jordan Dorner, the ex-Los Angeles police officer accused of three deaths.
"I was coming up a side road on the highway, and I seen some law enforcement personnel units in the area… and it seemed like something was in the works," Heltebrake told the TODAY Show Wednesday morning.
Heltebrake said Dorner came out of the snow-covered trees.
"He came up to me with his gun pointed at me," Heltebrake said.
Heltebrake said Dorner then told him, "I don't want to hurt you. Just get out and start walking, and take your dog."
Heltebrake said Dorner was very calm when he approached him.
"He was dressed all in camouflage. He had on some kind of ballistics vest," Heltebrake told the TODAY Show. "He was dressed for action."
Heltebrake luckily escaped unharmed.
"Not more than 10 seconds later, I heard a loud round of gunfire," Heltebrake said. "Ten to 20 rounds maybe. I found out later what that was all about."
Dorner fled to a nearby cabin and got into another shootout with San Bernadino County deputies, killing one and wounding another.
San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters Tuesday the other deputy was in surgery "but he should be fine."
The cabin caught fire after police tossed smoke devices inside, a law enforcement source told CNN.
The intense fire burned for hours as authorities waited at a distance.
Despite the enormity of the blaze, authorities were hesitant to officially say they had stopped Dorner.
"No body has been pulled out," LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said at a news conference Tuesday night. "No reports of a body being ID'd are true."
Cindy Bachman, a spokeswoman for the lead agency in the case -- the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department -- echoed the words, saying at a separate news conference that authorities believe whoever was in the cabin never left.
"They believe that there is a body in there, but it is not safe to go inside," she told reporters.
Finally, late Tuesday night, sheriff's investigators said they found charred human remains within the ashes of the torched cabin.
The department said it will work to identify the remains -- but it could take a while.
CNN contributed to this report
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