Friday, January 28, 2011

Police Panic Causes "Largest Area Lockdown In History"

LA Officer Accused of Shooting Himself and Lying to Cover it up

"LOS ANGELES -- A school police officer who reported getting shot in the chest -- prompting the lock-down of 9,000 students during a dragnet -- shot himself and has been arrested for filing a false report, authorities said.

During a hastily called news conference, LA Police Chief Charlie Beck said investigators processed more than 350 clues and talked to hundreds of people before concluding that the purported gunman who shot officer Jeffrey Stenroos was fictitious.

"The current state of the investigation refutes Stenroos' initial account of the incident, and we are now certain that there is no outstanding suspect in this shooting," Beck said. "We go where our investigations take us -- if it is to a suspect that is named in a crime or is to a law enforcement officer of another agency."

Stenroos claimed that he was on patrol Jan. 19 outside El Camino Real High School in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills when he confronted a man who had been breaking into cars. He said the suspect tried to kill him.

The shooting prompted the largest area lock-down in history. Hundreds of officers from local, state and federal agencies vainly combed a seven-mile area looking for an armed gunman in his 40s with a long, gray pony tail. Helicopters, SWAT teams and K9 units were deployed.

Children from nine schools remained locked in their classrooms for seven hours, unable to get access to restrooms or food out of fears that the suspect would enter a campus and create a hostage situation.

"I'm flabbergasted. I don't know what to say," City Councilman Dennis Zine told AOL News. "To do something like this is unconscionable, stupid and asinine. To stage something like this puts a very negative mark on himself and law enforcement."

Zine said that the incident caused panic and hysteria in the community and that investigators spent hundreds of hours looking for a suspect in the following days."


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