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There Was No Gunman: LAPD Arrest LAUSD Officer Wounded Outside El Camino Real High

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Photo by CarbonNYC via Flickr
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Last week the LAPD mounted one of the largest manhunts in recent history in the attempt to apprehend a burglary suspect who shot and wounded a LAUSD police officer stationed outside El Camino Real High School in the West Valley. Tonight, however, the authorities have arrested that officer, Jeffrey Stenroos, on charges he filed a false report. It turns out: There was no gunman.The investigation into the case revealed that Stenroos may have in fact shot himself. "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," say the LAPD via a release issued tonight.

The law enforcement community is in shock that a LAUSD officer would make false claims. Paul M. Weber, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League issued the following statement:

“The Law enforcement community is disgusted upon learning that Mr. Stenroos filed a false police report and apparently may have shot himself. His lies set into motion the largest search for a suspect in recent history and inconvenienced thousands of people for hours. While Mr. Stenroos is a disgrace to the badge, his individual and dangerous actions should not reflect on the hard working men and women in law enforcement. On behalf of all in law enforcement, we want to apologize to the public that a police officer would intentionally betray all of our trust. If these allegations are proven true, Mr. Stenroos is now where he belongs, behind bars.”

The LAPD came under much criticism for their handling of the manhunt, and the seeming futility as the search went on for hours, and then days. Students at several schools were left on "lockdown" for hours, and residents were either trapped in the police perimeter or unable to return home. The LAUSD also came under scrutiny for how they handled the lockdown and the post-incident counseling, particularly in contrast with the on-campus shooting that same week at Gardena High.Says LAPD Chief Charlie Beck of Officer Stenroos' arrest: "While I understand the media and the public’s intense interest in this investigation, and the desire for answers to the many questions that will be asked with this new development of the Officer’s arrest, I cannot provide more detailed information at this time."