LOS ANGELES – A now-former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who falsely claimed he was shot outside the Lancaster sheriff’s station, prompting an hours-long dragnet in search of a non-existent shooter, was arrested Thursday.
Angel Raul Reinosa, who was a rookie deputy when he reported being shot on Aug. 21, 2019, was arrested around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, during a traffic stop in Sylmar, according to the sheriff’s department.
Reinosa was charged by the District Attorney’s Office with two felony counts of insurance fraud and one misdemeanor count of filing a false police report.
Sheriff’s officials said he was being held in lieu of $40,000 bail. He could be arraigned as early as Friday, Jan. 17, prosecutors said.
He faces up to 5 1/2 years in jail if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Reinosa reported that he was shot in a shoulder while standing in the parking lot of the Lancaster sheriff’s station in the 500 block of West Lancaster Boulevard at about 2:50 p.m. Aug. 21, sheriff’s officials said. The reported ambush led to a massive containment perimeter being established, and an exhaustive, hours-long search of a four-story apartment complex from which Reinosa claimed the shot had been fired.
A nearby school was also placed on lockdown as dozens of SWAT deputies descended on the scene via helicopter and armored vehicles. The search of the building and surrounding area continued until roughly 5:30 a.m. the following day.
On Aug. 24, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced that the shooting report turned out to be a hoax, and 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.
“As sheriff, I am responsible for my deputies and am embarrassed and incredibly disappointed at what this deputy did,” Villanueva said at the time. “I apologize to our community and our elected officials who rallied in our support. During the investigation, we had suspicions concerning the validity of the claimed assault, but had to exercise care before accusing an employee of making false statements.”
UPDATE: Sheriff’s officials said Angel Reinosa, who was initially held on $40,000 bail, was released on bond at 12:31 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17. His next court appearance was tentatively set for Feb. 7, according to the sheriff’s Inmate Information Center website.
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