A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy caused a massive law enforcement response when he claimed that he had taken fire from a sniper in the parking lot of the sheriff department's Lancaster station, but he has since confessed to the hoax.
21-year-old trainee Deputy Angel Reinosa radioed an emergency dispatcher on Wednesday and claimed he had been shot with sniper fire.
"When the news broke," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, "I dropped everything I was doing to be at Lancaster and check on the welfare of Deputy Reinosa."
Reinosa said he had been shot in the shoulder but that his bulletproof vest had saved his life. He showed investigators the damaged vest.
Later he admitted that he had damaged the vest himself with a knife.
He had also claimed that the shots came from a government-subsidized apartment building next to the station. Police quickly evacuated the building and cordoned off the area in search for the alleged attacker.
One man told reporters that his apartment was ransacked by police and he was detained. He said that he wanted the deputy responsible to face time in jail.
The Association of Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffs released a statement excoriating the hoax.
"Not only does it bring discredit to the department and our deputies, it jeopardizes the trust and good faith we ask for from the public and elected officials," the union said in their statement.
"Worst of all, it's a slap in the face of deputies who have been shot in the line of duty," they added, "and to the families of those who paid the ultimate price for their service."
Villanueva said Reinosa may face criminal charges for the hoax.
"Like any subject of an internal investigation, Deputy Reinosa is entitled to due process," he said in his statement.
"I will not tolerate anyone who willfully violates their oath of office, makes a false police report, wastes valuable public safety resources, and causes fear in the community," Villanueva concluded. "Those who choose to violate the public's trust will face at minimum termination and a potential criminal prosecution."
Here's more about the hoax:
Deputy Accused of Faking Sniper Attack www.youtube.com