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No charges against firefighter in alleged stabbing hoax in downtown L.A.

February 2, 2011 |  8:18 am

Los Angeles prosecutors will not file charges against a firefighter accused of submitting a false police report in which he claimed he was stabbed by an unknown assailant at a downtown Los Angeles hotel, they said Wednesday.

City firefighter Charles Anthony MacDougall was hailed as a hero when he survived an attack in May at the Cecil Hotel while assisting someone in distress. But L.A. police detectives found inconsistencies in the story, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

After reviewing the facts, prosecutors determined they could not move forward with a criminal case against MacDougall, who was placed on administrative leave last summer, said a spokesman for City Atty. Carmen Trutanich.

"Due to the lack of sufficient evidence, there will be no filing of a charge of providing a false police report," said city attorney spokesman John Franklin.

MacDougall's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Franklin would not elaborate on specifics of the investigation, including why detectives began to question MacDougall's version of events. He also would not say how the stab wounds might have been inflicted or what details led officials to believe MacDougall had filed a false report.

MacDougall, a 10-year department veteran, told police he had gone to an upper floor of the hotel at Main and 6th streets to assist a man when an assailant stabbed him in the elbow and several times in the body.

MacDougall's partner told police MacDougall had come out of the hotel's ground-floor coffee shop and told him that someone needed to be examined, the sources said. The partner said he did not see the person MacDougall allegedly spoke to.

The pair then entered the hotel through the coffee shop. MacDougall headed up the stairway while his partner stayed on the ground level, the sources said. The partner eventually went upstairs and found MacDougall bleeding from stab wounds.

LAPD detectives struggled to track MacDougall's account of the attack but could not find the alleged assailant despite months of searching. Surveillance video recovered from the scene showed the firefighters were separated for about eight minutes, the sources said.

Investigators looked through McDougall and his partner's paramedic rig, searching for potential evidence, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it was an ongoing investigation.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said in June that both firefighters were on paid administrative leave as the investigation continued. They could not immediately be reached for comment on the current status of the firefighters.


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