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Police: Officer made up story about shooting near high school

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Police: Officer made up story
  • The officer says he was checking on a man who was peering into vehicles
  • Police release a sketch of the gunman, locks down schools and offers a reward
  • The officer is later arrested for filing a false police report
  • Police: Investigation "refutes Stenroos' initial account"

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A police officer in Los Angeles who claimed he was shot while patrolling near a high school has now been arrested for making up the story, authorities said.

Officer Jeff Stenroos of the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department had said he was shot in the chest on January 19 in the west San Fernando Valley. He said the shooting happened when he got out of his squad car to check on a man peering into parked vehicles near the El Camino High School.

The alleged shooting prompted an hours-long lockdown of several schools as police scoured the area looking for the shooter.

In the following days, authorities released a sketch of the alleged gunman, and the reward for information grew to $100,000.

But Thursday night, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Stenroos had been arrested on a felony count of filing a false police report.

"The current state of the investigation refutes Stenroos' initial account of the incident and we are now certain that there is no outstanding suspect in this shooting," he said in a statement.

Beck said detectives followed up on more than 350 clues, carried out several neighborhood canvasses and distributed "countless" fliers seeking information.

After the shooting, a Good Samaritan used Stenroos' radio to call for help and tended to him until medics arrived. The officer's protective vest had prevented the bullet from entering his body.

Beck's statement Thursday night did not elaborate on how Stenroos may have acquired his wound.

"While I understand the media and the public's intense interest in this investigation, and the desire for answers to the many questions that will be asked with this new development of the officer's arrest, I cannot provide more detailed information at this time," he said.

CNN's Scott Thompson and Sonya Hamasaki contributed to this report