A Los Angeles police officer has admitted he fabricated a story about being shot by a sniper, going so far as to cut holes in his bulletproof vest to backup his claim.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Angel Reinosa claimed he was shot on Wednesday, August 21, by a sniper as he stood in the parking lot of the Lancaster Sheriff’s station.
However, investigators were suspicious of Reinosa’s story, as the officer showed no signs of injury despite the holes in his vest, and no evidence of a sniper in the building where he claimed the shots came from.
Speaking at a news conference last night, August 24, Captain Kent Wegener explained, via NBC4:
Angel Reinosa admitted that he was not shot at from the apartment complex area as he previously claimed.
He also told investigators that he had caused the holes in his uniform shirt by cutting it with a knife.
There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder – completely fabricated.
According to investigators, Reinosa arrived at the emergency room with holes in his uniform shirt, though his undershirt was intact and he had no visible injury to his body.
Reiner eventually admitted he made the holes with a knife.
Update: Lancaster Station Shooting Investigation. We
as a station thank our community & first responder partners for the support during yesterday’s critical incident, a true testament to our deputies’ training & resident’s cooperation.https://t.co/xHsTQLCURA#LASD #AV411 pic.twitter.com/rHJANqIV0I
— LASD Lancaster Stn. (@LANLASD) August 23, 2019
After Reinosa’s initial reports of a shooting, a thorough, room-by-room search of the building adjacent to the police station was carried out. Reinosa apparently told investigators the shots came from open window. However, one source close to the investigation reportedly said ‘this was not adding up’ after the search of the building presented no evidence.
The sources also claimed Reinosa, a trainee deputy, had recently received ‘unfavourable performance reviews’ in training.
Dozens of officers were involved in the search for the ‘sniper’, including Los Angeles’ Special Enforcement Bureau.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy shot in shoulder and wounded at Lancaster station; shooter at large. #LASD SEB Special Weapons Team just landed on scene and searching for shooter. pic.twitter.com/JzOMO323yt
— SEB (@SEBLASD) August 21, 2019
According to police, Reinosa reported the shooting over his two-way radio, saying:
I’m taking shots from the north of the Lancaster helipad. I think I’m hit in the right shoulder, it might have gone through, but from the apartment complex to the north, I [unintelligible] two shots go off, my shirt’s ripped alright, if I can set, if I can set up a containment.
I think it’s from the apartment windows. There’s multiple windows open. I [unintelligible] know where the shots came from.
At the time, police thought other officers had also been shot at, though Reinosa admitted he was the only person involved.
Reinosa later confessed to detectives what had really happened, though did not give a reason for fabricating the story. He was relieved of duty and is likely to face criminal charges.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.