LANCASTER (CBSLA/AP) – A pellet rifle has been recovered from one of the apartments searched after a rookie Lancaster sheriff’s deputy was shot in the shoulder during an ambush in the station’s parking lot, authorities said Thursday.
It’s not yet determined whether the fake rifle was the weapon that caused minor injuries to rookie Deputy Angel Reinosa when shots were fired in the parking lot of the station at 501 W. Lancaster Blvd. just before 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Reinosa was going to his personal vehicle in the parking lot at the time of the shooting, said Capt. Todd Weber of the sheriff’s Lancaster Station.
He was treated at a hospital and released. He has been with the sheriff’s department for one year and was assigned to patrol training at the Lancaster station in May, Weber said.
“He is doing great, has a minor wound, is in high spirits and should make a full recovery. Very lucky,” Weber said Wednesday.
The deputy’s uniform and the pellet gun will be sent to the sheriff’s department’s crime lab for forensics testing, according to Luna.
A Sheriff’s Department statement Thursday said the round hit the top of Reinosa’s right shoulder, damaging his uniform shirt but failing to penetrate his flesh. He was treated for the minor injury.
Deputies searched for the sniper inside the block-long, four-story structure with many windows that overlook the sheriff’s facility in downtown Lancaster, a desert city of about 160,000 people north of Los Angeles.
Apartment units were searched and multiple interviews were conducted, according to sheriff’s officials, but no suspects were found.
Several tenants with a vantage point overlooking the parking lot told CBSLA’s Randy Paige they didn’t hear any gunfire.
Kent McGuire told Paige he knows what gunshots sound like – he’s an actor who has portrayed police officers and other law enforcement roles.
One of his credits, “No Shots Fired”, shows McGuire dressed in full police dress shooting a fake gun. McGuire says he owns the guns he uses in his acting work and that he told deputies the BB guns were inside his apartment.
When he went back later, he says he was stunned by what he found.
“The stove was ripped out, the back was ripped off and the central plate where you control the functions was punched in,” said McGuire. “All the cabinets, all the clothes, the suitcases were turned inside out…the cats out of their mind, why?”
McGuire says he told a detective he needs his guns back because he uses them for work.
“I need my guns ’cause we get hired out…I got the uniform and the badges and the guns and we get hired out as a cop, got my cop car,” he said. “I need my guns.”
Sheriff’s officials will not say who the owner is of the pellet rifle that was recovered. The BB guns taken from McGuire’s apartment were not returned as of Thursday afternoon, according to Paige.
The apartment building is adjacent to and partners with a nonprofit that provides housing, counseling and other services to people with mental health issues, according to the website for Mental Health America, Antelope Valley Enrichment Services.
The nonprofit said several housing units are “designated specifically for individuals with disabilities … who are ready for independent living.”
But the mayor said the building “caters to, is designed for and allows mentally ill people to live there. That’s all that lives there, is mentally ill people.”
The sheriff’s station is surrounded by shops and restaurants in a downtown area of the city in the Mojave Desert about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of downtown Los Angeles.