On Wednesday, a police officer claimed he was shot at by a sniper. But after a brief investigation, it was determined that the officer “completely fabricated” the incident. The officer has been fired after the department stated in a press conference Saturday that they’re “completely disappointed.” It’s unclear why the officer made such a brazen false claim in the first place.
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Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Angel Reinosa, a 21-year-old rookie, cut holes in his shirt and gave himself bruises in order to further sell the story of being shot, Fox News reported.
Within three days, the Lancaster Police Department determined that the story was entirely false. “Things didn’t add up,” Homicide Bureau Capt. Kent Wegener said in a press conference Saturday. “There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injuries sustained to his shoulder. Completely fabricated.”
Assistant Sheriff Robin Limon explained that Reinosa has been relieved of his duties, and a criminal investigation will take place.
“We are all appalled and disappointed. We took the deputy at his word at first,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva told the LA Times Sunday. “We intend to hold the individual responsible for breaking the law and most importantly for betraying the community.”
The story resulted in a manhunt ensuing for days as officers sought the person responsible. In addition to the story not adding up, witnesses in the area all claimed they heard no gunshots. Officers canvased a nearby apartment building but came up with nothing.
According to Reinosa’s report, he claimed he was shot in the chest around 2:50 p.m., but his vest deflected the shot. He proceeded to state the bullet then grazed his shoulder, but there were no bullets recovered at the scene.
The department issued a Facebook statement explaining the situation to its community. “Angry. Embarrassed. Furious. Unbelievable. Ashamed. These are some of the words circulating our station’s hallways since last night as our deputies try to wrap their minds around last night’s press conference surrounding the incident that occurred in our parking lot on Wednesday, August 21, 2019,” the department wrote in part.
Reinosa has yet to explain why he made up the attack.