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

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy who allegedly admitted to lying about being shot by a sniper at the Lancaster station last week is no longer with the department, officials announced Wednesday.

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

An investigation determined Reinosa had not been ambushed, Sheriff Alex Villanueva said at a news conference Wednesday.

"We are now faced with both a criminal investigation and a personnel matter,'' he said. "I have taken swift administrative action in the matter, and as of last night, Deputy Angel Reinosa is no longer employed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, or by the County of Los Angeles."

RAW VIDEO: Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks about Lancaster deputy's alleged sniper hoax
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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva held a news conference to provide updates on a deputy's alleged hoax claim about a sniper shooting in Lancaster. (Raw video)

Villanueva also referred to the "criminal investigation of this incident,'' adding, "It is our intention to present our evidence to the District Attorney's Office for filing consideration in the very near future.''

Possible criminal charges could include the alleged "false reporting of a crime,'' Villanueva said, or false reporting of an emergency. He added that any sheriff's department employee undergoing an internal investigation is given due process of the law, and he insisted the same will be done for Reinosa.

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Villanueva said that he felt it was necessary to release the information about the hoax to the public in a timely manner, so he ordered a rare Saturday night news conference where department officials revealed that the rookie deputy had "completely fabricated'' the incident and would be relieved of his duties.

"There was no sniper no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained in the shoulder," Capt. Kent Wegener with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Saturday.

The following day, the station posted its feelings on social media: "Angry. Embarrassed. Furious. Unbelievable. Ashamed."

RELATED: LASD deputies speak out after patrol trainee admits to fabricating sniper shooting

"They feel hurt, they feel betrayed," said Bruce Thomas, a former sheriff's deputy and law enforcement expert. "The most important thing is that this person tarnished the badge they work so hard to wear."

"He put everybody's life in danger - not just the public for this incident but also all the sheriff's deputies who drove their cars at a high rate of speed to get there for an officer who's been injured in the shooting," Thomas added.

Residents of the apartment building that was evacuated said they were upset with the way it was handled.

"The things that they put us through didn't make sense and then all of a sudden it's a hoax," said one woman.

The District Attorney's office will now determine whether Reinosa will face additional charges.

City News Service contributed to this story.
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