LA deputy made up sniper fire story that prompted manhunt


A 21-year-old rookie deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been fired over a “completely fabricated” claim of being shot by a sniper.

Sheriff’s Deputy Angel Reinosa called 911 on Wednesday to claim that he had been shot by a sniper from a nearby apartment complex as he was going to his car at the end of his shift in Lancaster, a city in northern Los Angeles County, KTLA-TV reported.

In the call, Reinosa tells the operator that he has been hit in his right shoulder as he gives instruction on where the shots came from — but it never happened.

Here’s a report from Fox News prior to the discovery that the story was made up:

Source: Fox News

“Deputy Reinosa admitted that he was not shot at from the apartment complex area, as he had initially claimed,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Kent Wegener at a Saturday evening news conference.

“Things didn’t add up,” Wegener added. “There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injuries sustained to his shoulder. Completely fabricated.”

Reinosa, who was still wearing his bullet-proof vest, reportedly had cut holes in his shirt to make it look like he had been hit by a bullet — he was treated for a “bruise” on his shoulder at a hospital.

Meanwhile, the entire department was on high alert, with heavily armed deputies wearing tactical gear setting up a perimeter and launching a massive search for the reported sniper, Fox News reported.

In triple-digit temperatures.

Hundreds of officers took part and blocked off the apartment building, believing they had the suspected sniper trapped.

After hours of searching, they failed to find a suspect, and Wegener said a subsequent investigation found no ballistic evidence at the scene or any witnesses who heard shots being fired.

“The reported sniper assault was fabricated by our deputy,” Assistant Sheriff Robin Limon said at Saturday’s news conference.

It’s not clear what the deputy’s motivation was, although a criminal investigation into Reinosa’s false report was initiated and he could face charges.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Limon said. “We expect our deputy sheriff’s are held to a higher standard, and unfortunately, in this case, he did not act to that standard.”

Reinosa has been with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department for a year and joined the Lancaster station in May for patrol training.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the puzzling story from Twitter:


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