Southern California deputy confesses to fabricating sniper shooting, authorities say staff WABC logo
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Southern California deputy confesses to fabricating sniper shooting, authorities say
A Los Angeles Sheriff's Department deputy who was reported shot in Lancaster this week made up the incident, authorities announced during a rare Saturday night news conference.

LANCASTER, Calif. -- "Furious" and "unbelievable" are just a few words some Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies are using to describe their fellow officer's false report of a shooting at the department's Lancaster station last week.

The Lancaster Sheriff's Station took to Facebook Sunday to voice their outrage over the incident.

"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 post reads.

In a rare Saturday night news conference, authorities announced 21-year-old patrol trainee Angel Reinosa will face a criminal investigation for lying about being shot in the shoulder on Aug. 21 while standing in the station parking lot, which triggered a massive manhunt and evacuations of an apartment complex.

Much of the young deputy's statement "was self-serving and didn't make a whole lot of sense," said LASD Capt. Kent Wegener. "There were many things that didn't add up."

He was heard calling in the shooting over emergency radios.

LANCASTER SHOOTING: Wounded deputy calls in own shooting in dramatic audio

In a dramatic audio recording, 21-year-old patrol trainee Angel Reinosa can be heard calling in his own shooting. "I've taken shots from north of the Lancaster helipad. I think I'm hurt in the right shoulder, it might have gone through."

"I have taken shots from the north of the Lancaster helipad," the deputy is heard saying over the radio. "I think I'm hit in the right shoulder."

When investigators met with Reinosa Saturday for follow-up interviews about the incident, they observed no visible injuries on his shoulder, according to Wegener. Officials said Reinosa confessed to cutting holes in his shirt with a knife and that he was never shot.

"There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder. Completely fabricated," Wegener said.

Reinosa was expected to be relieved of his duty and will face criminal charges for filling a false report of an emergency, officials said.

A security guard who works next to the sheriff's station said the false claim has damaged the public's trust to the point that calls to the security company have recently tripled.

"A lot of people, I guess, are having fear over the sheriff's right now because of what happened, and it's not their fault," ACME Asset Protections Lt. Kurtis Hopkins said. "You can't let one bad seed really reflect on everyone. But they're calling us more for more different type of calls. I mean, we usually get these type of calls, but we realize they're not also calling the sheriff's."

A motive has not yet been determined.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office will now determine whether Reinosa will face additional charges.