Sheriff

Former Deputy Arrested in Lancaster Shooting Hoax

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy confessed to fabricating a story about being shot in the shoulder in 2018, authorities say

Eric Leonard

The former Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy accused of falsely claiming he'd been shot by a sniper in the parking lot of the Lancaster Sheriff's Station has been arrested and has been charged with insurance fraud and filing a false report, multiple law enforcement sources told NBC Los Angeles.

Angel Reinosa was arrested Thursday afternoon in the north San Fernando Valley by Sheriff's detectives. He was released early Friday after posting bond.

Reinosa was expected to make his first appearance in court Friday.

Reinosa, 21, was still a probationary employee when Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Reinosa confessed to fabricating a story about being shot in the shoulder on Aug. 21, 2018 in the parking lot of the Sheriff's station.

Villanueva fired Reinosa within a week.

Law enforcement sources told NBC at the time that Reinosa had been counseled about his poor work performance in the hours before the false shooting report, and that the day before the false report Reinosa had been restricted to working inside the station.

The sources said a training officer and a supervisor had documented incidents of dishonesty in the weeks prior.

The false report was publicly revealed three days after the incident, which initially drew dozens of deputies from across the County, including specialized units, to conduct a massive door-to-door search of the building from which Reinosa claimed the shots were fired.

"Angel Reinosa admitted that he was not shot at from the apartment complex area as he previously claimed," Capt. Kent Wegener said at a Saturday night news conference. "He also told investigators that he had caused the holes in his uniform shirt by cutting it with a knife."

Wegener said, "there was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder -- completely fabricated."

NBC obtained a photograph of Reinosa's uniform shirt that shows the holes that Reinosa allegedly claimed were caused by a bullet passing through his body, the sources said.

The deputies' union, ALADS, condemned Reinosa's actions.

"Not only does it bring discredit to the department and our deputies, it jeopardizes the trust and good faith we ask for from the public and elected officials. Worst of all, it's a slap in the face of deputies who have been shot in the line of duty, and to the families of those who paid the ultimate price for their service," the union said in a statement.

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