You might remember the story I wrote back in early February about Los Angeles School Police Officer Jeff Stenroos, who [allegedly] lied about being shot, causing one of the largest manhunts in the history of the state.
He was playing with his sidearm and managed to shoot himself. To cover up his complete lack of firearm handling skills, he claimed he’d been shot in an attempt to deflect attention away from himself.
His lie caused over 550 police officers to comb the San Fernando Valley looking for the gunman.
Needless to say, everyone involved was pretty upset with Mr. Stenroos after he admitted he’d fibbed.
An Associated Press story from the other day updated us all on what’s happened next.
On Thursday, March 10th, 2011 Jeff Stenroos was charged with four felony counts of perjury, filing a false insurance claim, preparing a false police report, preparing false evidence and one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.
While it’s obviously pretty embarrassing to shoot yourself (he’s lucky to be alive at all) it’s got to be far more embarrassing to be facing 5 years in the State Penitentiary for compounding that stupidity by lying about it.
Immediately upon hearing the charges had been filed, the Los Angeles Unified School District began proceedings to have Stenroos fired.
“Immediately after this rogue officer perpetuated a hoax that affected thousands, I apologized on behalf of the Los Angeles Unified School District,” Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines said in a statement. “I remain embarrassed. Mr. Stenroos is neither a good example of the men and women who serve as members of our school police force, nor is he a good example for our students. Lying is never acceptable.”
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Stenroos’ actions caused authorities to lock down 9 schools and confine over 9,000 students to their classrooms while police basically shut down 8 square miles of the city for ten hours.
The search for the bogus gunman was estimated to cost over half a million dollars.
Stenroos “put into motion a series of events that wasted valuable department resources, negatively impacted thousands of school children and their families, and disrupted the lives of a countless number of people who were inconvenienced by the perimeter set up to catch a suspect who never existed,” city Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement Thursday.
“Officer Stenroos deserves no leniency and the charges he now faces are more than appropriate after what he put this city through.”
Stenroos would have been much better off telling the truth, don’t you think?