L.A. school police officer in shooting hoax to be arraigned
The school police officer who lied about being shot and set off a massive manhunt in Woodland Hills is set to be arraigned Wednesday on several felony charges.
Jeff Stenroos, an officer with the Los Angeles Unified School Police Department, initially told investigators he had been shot while confronting a man he caught trying to break into cars near El Camino Real High School.
But in the days after the Jan. 19 shooting, investigators began noticing inconsistencies in his story and unusual behavior. Detectives eventually suspected that Stenroos either shot at his protective vest while it was off, or accidentally shot himself and tried to cover it up to avoid getting in trouble.
The break in his case came when police, already suspicious of his tale, invited the officer to participate in a news conference with top law enforcement brass. Stenroos said he would be there but did not show.
Investigators confronted him soon after and he confessed to concocting the story of the gunman. Stenroos' report that he had been shot sparked a huge police response that brought much of the west San Fernando Valley to a standstill for hours.
Hundreds of officers searched for a gunman, schools were put on lockdown and residents were kept from getting to or leaving their homes.
Stenroos is facing four felony charges, including preparing a false police report, preparing false evidence, perjury and filing a false insurance claim. He also will be charged with a misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
-- Robert Faturechi
Photo: Stenroos leaves Van Nuys Superior Court March 23. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times