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Louisiana police officer claimed he was shot during ambush. Authorities arrest him for reportedly faking the attack, say he shot himself.

'Everything shows it was an accidental discharge'

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images

A Louisiana police officer was arrested after he reportedly claimed to be the victim of an ambush that reportedly took place earlier in September.

A spokesperson for the Pineville Police Department says that the officer, 25-year-old John Michael Goulart Jr., actually shot himself in the leg during the alleged "attack."

What did the officer say happened?

In initial reports, Goulart Jr. said that he came under attack as he exited his patrol vehicle at a Pineville shopping center on Sept. 20.

He said that he was struck once in the leg and a second round hit the rear door of his patrol vehicle.

Pineville Police Department Public Information Officer Deputy Chief Darrell Basco initially told KALB-TV, "There were shots fired at the officer. The officer didn't return fire on anybody. He was exiting the patrol vehicle at the shopping center whenever he was ambushed by an unknown person at this time and two shots were fired. One striking him, and the other hit the vehicle."

Following the initial report, the Pineville community rallied around the injured officer.

Goulart joined the department in 2018, according to a Facebook post.

What really happened?

Investigators said that Goulart Jr. shot himself, hid his service weapon, and lied about what had actually taken place.

"Everything shows it was an accidental discharge," Basco said according to CNN.

"The investigation of a Pineville Police Department officer being shot on Sunday night is closed," Basco said in a later statement. "The investigation led to a determination that the officer shot himself, concealed, and altered the facts."

Of the investigation, Don Weatherford, Pineville's police chief, added, "We had no reason originally to question what he was telling us was accurate. As it progressed, that evidence gives you some pretty clear direction and it led us to re-interviewing Officer Goulart Jr. and he admitted that at that point he had not been truthful with us during the investigation."

Clarence Fields, the mayor of Pineville, said he believed Goulart Jr. was a "very good police officer."

Fields added that the purportedly faked attack, however, was "unfortunate," considering "everything going on in America relative to relationships between police and the community."

"They are mindful that they will probably be looked at very differently and receive some criticism," Fields said of the department.

So what happened then?

Authorities arrested Goulart Jr. on Tuesday on charges of malfeasance in office and criminal mischief and placed him on administrative leave.

Goulart Jr. was released on a $10,500 bond.

You can watch a video report on the incident here.

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