A former sheriff’s deputy who falsely claimed that he had been shot outside the Lancaster sheriff’s station was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and one year of probation on Friday, March 3, and was ordered to pay nearly $543,000 in restitution to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for its massive response to the hoax.
Angel Raul Reinosa, who was a rookie deputy when he reported being shot, was found guilty in November of a misdemeanor charge of making a false report of a crime but acquitted of two felony counts of insurance fraud.
Reinosa, now 24, reported that he was struck in the shoulder while standing in the parking lot of the station in the 500 block of West Lancaster Boulevard on Aug. 21, 2019. The reported ambush triggered an exhaustive, hours-long search of an adjacent four-story apartment complex.
A nearby school was placed on lockdown as dozens of SWAT deputies descended on the scene via helicopter and armored vehicles.
Three days later, then-Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced that the shooting report had been a hoax, and said Reinosa was no longer a member of the department.
Sheriff’s officials told reporters that several things did not add up in Reinosa’s story: No bullets were recovered in the parking lot, no cars were struck by gunfire, and many people in the vicinity did not hear any gunshots.
A prosecutor said Reinosa was “having problems at work. … He was trying to save himself from getting demoted. He was trying to go from zero to hero.”
Reinosa told jurors that homicide detectives who investigated what had happened didn’t believe him, but he maintained that he did not lie. He said he didn’t know what hit him.