LOS ANGELES COUNTY – The fellow deputies of an officer who lied about being shot outside the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lancaster station earlier this week feel anger and shame over the ordeal, a post on the station’s Facebook page said Sunday.
The message also stressed that, despite those emotions, one person’s actions “are not indicative of who Lancaster Sheriff’s Station Deputies are.”
In a news conference late Saturday, the Sheriff’s Department announced that a 21-year-old rookie deputy, who reported being shot Wednesday and triggered a large SWAT team response, made up the story.
Deputy Angel Reinosa met with detectives earlier Saturday for a follow-up interview about the incident, Capt. Kent Wegener said.
“There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injuries sustained to his shoulder. Completely fabricated,” Wegener said.
Reinosa had claimed he was shot at from an apartment building while walking to his personal car, the Sheriff’s Department said. The next day, the agency announced recovering a “pellet gun rifle” and that the deputy’s uniform had damage “consistent with a gunshot.”
Authorities described a wound he supposedly sustained as “very minor.”
Later, Reinosa admitted to cutting two holes with a knife, Wegener said. The rifle was deemed unrelated to the incident.
Investigators planned to relay their findings to the District Attorney’s Office for possible charges against the officer.
“Angry. Embarrassed. Furious. Unbelievable. Ashamed,” the Lancaster station’s Facebook post said Sunday. “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…”
The station’s deputies “did exactly what they have been trained to do” in response to the reported shooting Wednesday, the message said. “There is no shame in that.”
The post continued to say most people know that one individual’s behavior does not represent the entire station.
“But just in case some of our incredible men and women in tan and green are feeling ’embarrassed/angry/ashamed’ today, let us remind you of who you really are,” the message said. “One moment does not leave your legacy, the work you do, day in, day out does.”