Students Testify at Trial of Officer Accused in Hoax Shooting

Jeff Stenroos is accused of faking his own shooting, a report that led to a manhunt and several school lockdowns

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    The trial began Friday for LAUSD Police Officer, Jeff Stenroos. He's accused of faking his own shooting while on duty last January. A Woodland Hills neighborhood had to be put on lock-down, while his fellow officers looked for a gunman who didn't exist.

    A trial began Friday for a school police officer accused of faking his own shooting -- a report that led to several school lockdowns and an hours-long manhunt in Woodland Hills.

    Jeff Stenroos, 30, pleaded not guilty to a felony count each of filing  a false report, preparing false documentary evidence, peace officer altering evidence, insurance fraud and workers' compensation fraud, along with one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting an emergency.

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    The investigation into the January 19 shooting hoax is now complete, and Chief Charlie Beck still thinks Stenroos should face a felony charge.

    Stenroos is accused of lying about being shot Jan. 19 by a burglary suspect near El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills. Stenroos said he had been shot once in the chest, but a protective vest  stopped the slug, leaving him with only a bruise, according to prosecutors.

    Stenroos was treated and released at a hospital.

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    [LA] Former School Cop Makes Court Appearance, Assists Photographer
    Jeff Stenroos lends a hand to a photographer after his court appearance.

    In court Friday, students testified they heard "no loud sounds" at the time Stenroos contends he was shot.

    The report from Stenroos triggered an eight-square mile manhunt for a shooter. Several schools were locked down in the neighborhood.

    There was even a sketch of the gunman, and police questioned several people in connection with the reported shooting.

    The estimated cost of the manhunt was more than $400,000.

    Stenroos was arrested Jan. 27 after an investigation determined the case was a hoax. During a news conference the day after Stenroos' arrest, police chief Charlie Beck said Stenroos' story had "inconsistencies."

    "Up until just several days ago, we believed this was assault on a police officer," Beck said Jan. 28.

    That same week, the city council voted unanimously to sue Stenroos. The LA Police Protective League called him a "disgrace to the badge."

    Stenroos, who had been with LAUSD police for eight years, later told investigators that he accidentally shot himself.