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L.A. schools police officer convicted of faking his own shooting

September 12, 2011 |  3:35 pm

Jeffrey Stenroos
A Los Angeles school police officer was convicted Monday of faking his own shooting near El Camino Real High and prompting a 10-hour police dragnet in the western San Fernando Valley.

Jeff Stenroos, 31, was convicted in a non-jury trial of five of the six counts against him.

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Richard N. Kirschner has not made a decision on the sixth count, filing a false police report.

Stenroos, who had been free on $20,000 bail, was taken into custody immediately after Kirschner announced his verdict.

The judge ordered Stenroos to undergo a psychological exam at a state prison.

Stenroos, an eight-year veteran of the Los Angeles Unified school police force, told authorities Jan. 19 that he had been shot in his bullet-proof vest just outside the El Camino Real campus by a man in his 40s wearing jeans and a bomber jacket.

Police initially believed Stenroos' story because he had bruised ribs and there were indications his bulletproof vest had absorbed the impact of a gunshot.

But inconsistencies emerged, leading LAPD investigators to question his account.

Suspicions grew when Stenroos ducked follow-up interviews that had been requested by detectives, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

At one point, Stenroos checked himself into Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia, complaining of chest pains.

A week after the shooting, Stenroos confessed that his original story was a hoax, telling investigators he had accidentally fired his weapon, according to LAPD officials with knowledge of the case.


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-- Joel Rubin

Photo: Los Angeles Unified School District police officer Jeff Stenroos walks out of court in April. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times