UPDATE: Further investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has found that the reported “sniper shooting” was a hoax.
At a news conference late Saturday, according to The Los Angeles Times, the sheriff’s department announced that Deputy Angel Reinosa had admitted the deception.
Reinosa told investigators he had cut a hole in his own shirt with a knife. He had not been hit with a bullet that had supposedly been stopped by a protective vest.
The deputy is now the subject of a criminal investigation, according to the newspaper.
After a sniper’s bullet hit a young sheriff’s deputy, officers are undertaking a massive manhunt to find the gunman.
Angel Reinosa, a 21-year old deputy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, was hit Wednesday just seconds before he planned to take off his bulletproof vest.
The shooting occurred in Lancaster, California, located north of Los Angeles.
Reinosa is still relatively new to the sheriff’s department, having served roughly a year before the gunman targeted him.
The gunman was believed to have fired from government-subsidized housing projects across the street from the department’s Lancaster station.
The bullet hit the deputy’s shoulder, but his vest absorbed much of the energy.
Reiner was rushed to the hospital where doctors treated him for a gunshot wound, although he did not need surgery.
Without his bulletproof vest, however, that may not have been the case.
“He was getting ready to take that vest off,” Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris was quoted as saying by ABC News. “Had he done so, it would’ve been a much more tragic situation.”
Immediately after the shooting, law enforcement secured the housing project. Video from the aftermath shows deputies rushing to secure the location.
Authorities scoured the housing complex, only to find air guns that were allegedly props used in the film industry.
One seized pellet gun was sent to a forensics lab for testing.
The housing complex shares a parking lot with a mental health facility, sparking fears that the gunman may have a mental illness.
Although it’s not clear if the gunman was a patient, residents are still on edge.
“They let people live in our apartment complex who have mental illness,” a resident of the housing complex said.
“It’s kind of scary because there’s no security onsite 24 hours. Management is never here when things happen. The cops are in there constantly. So it’s not a surprise.”
The attack comes as departments nationwide deal with harassment from civilians and a sweeping suicide crisis.
The gunman’s identity and motives remain unclear.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is now expanding its manhunt and is asking for any leads or information the public may have.
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