A Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy who claimed to have been attacked by a sniper last week has confessed to lying about the supposed incident.
“Reinosa admitted he was not shot at as he previously claimed,” L.A. County Homicide Capt. Kent Wegener said regarding Angel Reinosa, the California sheriff’s deputy who was still a trainee when he claimed on Wednesday that he had been attacked by an unknown sniper, according to ABC News. “He also told investigators he had caused the holes in his uniform by cutting it. There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder.”
This article first appeared in Salon.
According to Wegener, Reinosa did not provide a rational explanation for why he would lie about something so serious.
“Much of his statement was self-serving, didn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Wegener told reporters.
Although it is unclear how the district attorney’s office will proceed in terms of criminal charges, it is unlikely that Reinosa won’t face any kind of legal consequence given the seriousness of his false accusation. That said, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Assistant Sheriff Robin Limon made it clear that the deputy would be fired and that the department is “incredibly disappointed” in his conduct.
As Wegener pointed out during his press conference, there were serious flaws in the official’s story almost from the beginning.
“There were several things that were curious. There was no ballistic evidence in the parking lot at all. No bullet was recovered. … There were many things that didn’t add up,” Wegener explained.
On the day of the supposed shooting, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris strongly condemned the alleged act and emotionally told reporters, “The only reason that deputy is alive is because he had his vest on.”
While Reinosa’s story appears to have been a hoax, there have been several shootings of police officers in the United States over the past month, according to CNN. In Texas Deputy Quinton Goodwill of Harris County was shot multiple times on Wednesday as he approached a vehicle in Houston during a routine traffic stop and was likely saved by the fact that he was wearing a bulletproof vest. In southern Missouri a state trooper and sheriff’s deputy were wounded as State Highway Patrol officers helped Carter County Sheriff’s Department deputies serve an eviction notice at a local residence. As recently as last week, six Philadelphia police officers were wounded while serving a narcotics warrant, prompting a standoff that lasted for almost eight hours.
In addition earlier this month an Illinois state trooper was shot while serving a search warrant at a home in the town of Wheeling. Also earlier this month a shooting in Odessa, Texas caused at least one officer to be hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
Loose gun control laws have long imperiled the lives of police officers, which is why the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the world’s largest professional association for police leaders, has supported measures like stronger regulations on concealing and carrying weapons, banning semi-automatic assault weapons, creating a felony firearm conviction registry and supporting a waiting period for purchasing handguns, closing gun show loopholes and prohibiting the sale of armor-piercing ammunition.