Exclusive: Lancaster resident claims harassment from deputies during sniper hoax

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Lancaster resident claims harassment from deputies during sniper hoax
EMBED <>More Videos

A man says that deputies upended his apartment during a manhunt triggered by a reported shooting of a deputy that turned out to be false.

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- A disabled Lancaster resident says he is taking steps to sue Los Angeles County after he was allegedly harassed by sheriff's deputies during a manhunt triggered by a reported shooting of a deputy that turned out to be false.

Jaime Flores, a formerly homeless double amputee, says that deputies upended his apartment, tossed food from his refrigerator, disabled his electric wheelchair and disrespected him in their search for a sniper that did not exist.

"I get away from where I used to be to heal up and recuperate, and then I bump into something that is worse than where I was at," said Flores.

The report of the shooting from 21-year-old patrol trainee Angel Reinosa triggered a massive manhunt near the Lancaster sheriff's station.

RELATED: 'Furious. Unbelievable': LASD deputies speak out after trainee admits to fabricating sniper shooting

Reinosa reported being shot in the shoulder while he was walking in the station's parking lot. He said the shots came from a nearby apartment building. Police evacuated the building and searched it floor-by-floor for the shooter, but found no suspect.

Department officials later said that the rookie deputy had "completely fabricated'' the incident and would be relieved of his duties.

Flores, a resident of the subsidized apartment building, is taking steps to sue the county.

District Attorney Jackie Lacey says that a team is trying to determine whether Reinosa should face criminal charges after exposing residents to such an ordeal.

"Imagine how they were harassed and how they were treated by the deputies, so he really caused a lot of harm to the community," said Lacey.

RELATED: Lancaster deputy who allegedly fabricated sniper shooting no longer employed by LASD

Meanwhile, the mayor of Lancaster says that he is the target of death threats after criticizing homeless non-profits.

"Mental Health of America had 5,000 people trash me on social media from all over the country... I just wish they would quit suggesting that people should kill the mayor. That's how bad it got," said Mayor Rex Parris.

Parris had lashed out during the manhunt and lockdown of the low-income apartment building adjacent to the Lancaster sheriff's station.

The mayor said he cast suspicion on at-risk tenants based on what the sheriff's department told him.

Yet, today, he makes no apologies for his opposition to homeless non-profits. He says that Lancaster cannot sustain the ongoing influx of troubled, unhoused people the agencies draw.

"I am telling them, don't come here. Go someplace else. We are not the solution to Los Angeles' homeless problem," said Parris.

Parris suggests barriers to block the view of the sheriff's station helipad and parking lot from the apartment building. Solar panels or a five-story louvre structure would provide more security.

About the trauma suffered by residents, the mayor says he can't imagine how frightened they were. But he also can't imagine an alternative when an active shooter was suspected.

"Yes, people are going to be psychologically damaged in the process of that," Parris said. "I don't know how we can prevent that."