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School Officer Shot Last Week Under Arrest

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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — LAUSD police officer Jeff Stenroos, who was shot in the chest while wearing body armor last week, has been arrested for allegedly filing a false report, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a news conference held Thursday night.

The report Jan. 19 touched off a widespread school lockdown as hundreds of police searched for a suspect, and a reward was offered.

But Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said there was no gunman or outstanding suspect and Officer Jeffrey Stenroos was in custody.

Beck declined to release more information because the investigation is ongoing.

Stenroos claimed a burglary suspect shot him in the chest while he was patrolling a street near El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills. He said his bulletproof vest saved his life.

The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the case, said Stenroos was mishandling a firearm when he was shot, but he did not go into any more detail.

Nine schools were locked down and seven square miles of quiet suburban neighborhoods were blocked off after the reported shooting. Beck had defended the aggressive response to the shooting.

“We go where these investigations take us,” he said at a two-minute news conference Thursday night. “Finding the truth and obtaining some form of justice is what we’re about.”

More than 350 officers from five agencies scoured the area, gathering hundreds of clues, canvassing neighborhood and reaching out to residents to drum up leads in the case, Beck said.

Three schools nearby kept students in classrooms for hours without access to food or bathrooms. The high school finally released its students more than five hours later. Stenroos was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital later that night.

Police later released a sketch of the suspect that Stenroos described. Authorities mustered $100,000 in reward money for information leading to the suspected shooter’s arrest.

Los Angeles Police Protective League president Paul Weber said he was “disgusted” to hear about Stenroos’ arrest and apologized to the public for his actions.

“His lies set into motion the largest search for a suspect in recent history and inconvenienced thousands of people for hours,” the police union president said. “If these allegations are proven
true, Mr. Stenroos is now where he belongs, behind bars.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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