A Los Angeles County deputy has been fired and could face a criminal investigation after lying about being shot.
Deputy Angel Reinosa called his colleagues to say he had just been shot at from a building.
The 21-year-old told them he had been walking from his station in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles, to his car at the time.
His colleagues sprang into action, with SWAT officers going door-to-door searching for the gunman.
Homes and businesses were evacuated – and public transport ground to a halt.
Reinosa appeared to have had a lucky escape – his bulletproof vest had saved his life and a bullet had only grazed his shoulder.
The only apparent damage was to his uniform shirt.
But some grew suspicious – no bullets were found at the scene, and LA County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Captain Kent Wegener said the young deputy had no visible injuries.
The captain described Reinosa’s statement as “self-serving”, adding that it “didn’t make a whole lot of sense”.
Eventually Reinosa confessed to lying about the shooting, adding that he had used a knife to cut two holes in his shirt to make it look like he had been shot.
He was fired and could face charged for filing a false report about a crime.
Authorities have not explained the motive behind what Reinosa did.
However, Lancaster’s mayor R Rex Parris said that Reinosa had been struggling in his first year on the job.
He told the Los Angeles Times: “He was not advancing through the training programme at an adequate pace. There had been a lot of attention on him.”
Reinosa, who had been with the sheriff’s department for just a year, was also thought to have been unhappy about plans to transfer him to another station.
Robin Limon, Los Angeles County Assistant Sheriff, said: “It’s extremely disappointing.
“We expect our deputy sheriffs to [be] held to a higher standard and unfortunately, in this case, he did not act to that standard.
“But I’d like to reiterate to the citizens of Lancaster your community is safe.
“There’s no one on the loose in that community.
“I apologise for the inconvenience that that was imposed on you but I’m very happy to say that your community is safe at this time.”
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