Deputy Angel Reinosa, a 21-year-old patrol trainee, was walking to his car Wednesday afternoon in the employee parking lot when he was shot, apparently from a nearby building that overlooks the sheriff's station. Reinosa was wearing a vest and was not seriously injured, but he was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
The shooting triggered a massive manhunt and a search and evacuation of the nearby apartment complex. The search ended late that night with no suspect in custody.
Investigators confirmed Thursday they found and recovered a pellet gun from one of the apartments they searched.
It was taken to the Sheriff's Department crime lab for forensics testing. The deputy's uniform was also sent to the lab for testing.
One resident of the building said authorities searched his apartment and seized an air gun he described as a prop used for acting.
"Right at the start, I told them I play cops in movies and TV. And I have air soft guns," said Kent McGuire, a resident of the building that was searched. "They went in and they did their search. And they destroyed the entire apartment. Turned everything upside down."
McGuire was questioned. He says one of the detectives told him they suspected the deputy could have been shot with a a BB.
He says his air guns included a short barrel rifle and he says it never held BBs.
McGuire said he had no indication from investigators that he was being looked at as a suspect.
It was not immediately clear if the air gun seized from McGuire was the same item that was sent for testing as described by the sheriff's department in a press release.
Reinosa was heard calling in the shooting over emergency radios.
LANCASTER SHOOTING: Wounded deputy calls in own shooting in dramatic audio
"I have taken shots from the north of the Lancaster helipad," the deputy is heard saying over the radio. "I think I'm hit in the right shoulder."
He was treated for a gunshot wound in one of his shoulders and released from the hospital and did not need surgery, as his ballistic vest absorbed the brunt of the bullet.
The shooting and evacuation were frightening for nearby residents, who feared another mass shooting. They reported hearing screaming from the sheriff's station.
"Please find this person," one resident said. "Because that puts the whole community at risk. We have kids, we have families, we have grandmothers, we have mothers here. It's important."