Christopher Dorner $1M reward: Who should receive payment for ending manhunt?

(CBS News) Los Angeles officials now say they will pay the $1 million reward offered in the search for Christopher Dorner. He was the former police officer who went on a killing rampage until his own death.

Now, the couple Dorner held hostage is saying they deserve the money.


When Dorner made his last stand near Big Bear, Calif., he had killed four people, wounded two, and there was a $1 million reward out for his capture and conviction -- the largest ever in California.

After being cornered by police, Dorner took his own life, just hours after he terrified Jim and Karen Reynolds in one of their rental condos. Their encounter with Dorner -- and what they did immediately after-- is the now at the forefront of the controversy over who, if anyone, should get the reward.

Asked if they deserve the reward, Jim Reynolds said, "Yes. ... We gave the information that led to his being cornered down there."

The Reynolds say it was their call to 911 and their description of the car Dorner had stolen that led police to him. But the day after the shootout, they told reporters they didn't think the reward would be paid because of a technicality. Karen Reynolds said at the time, "I've actually pretty much just heard that nobody is getting that because he needed to be captured and convicted."

After weeks of debate, and some reward donors pulling out, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa cleared up some of the confusion on Friday, saying: "We said we'd put together a million-dollar reward, we have."

According to new reward guidelines from the Los Angeles Police Department, Dorner's conviction is "irrelevant" because his "...death has made satisfying such a condition impossible...," but further complicating matters, the Reynolds aren't the only ones claiming the reward. After Dorner crashed their car, he hijacked Rick Heltebrake's truck.

"I believe it was my call that directly led to the end of the largest manhunt in California history," Heltebrake said.

But some donors have privately questioned whether Heltebrake or the Reynolds deserve the reward at all, arguing they both called the police to report a crime.

Though his attorney, Heltebrake declined CBS News' request for an interview, but the Reynolds' attorney says his clients put themselves in danger by struggling to get free and calling 911 as fast as they did. Kirk Hallam, Reynolds' attorney, said, "The fact is they did exactly what Mr. Dorner warned them not to do. He told them, 'Lay there, be still, do not call police.'"

Jim Reynolds said, "If he got free and got out there and started killing more people, then that would've been on my conscience. So we had to make the effort to try and to get free and get the word out."

Their only regret is that before it was all over two more deputies had been shot. "When I saw there was two officers down, I actually cried," Jim Reynolds said. "I just -- I wanted him stopped bad. But I didn't want anybody else to get hurt."

The Reynolds say they did their best, under extreme circumstances. But it could be some time before it's determined if their actions are worth $1 million.