LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Comments on Lancaster Shooting Hoax

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva spoke with NBCLA about the Lancaster sniper shooting hoax and said the deputy who lied does not represent his department. 

Villanueva said, "It's unfortunate. It's embarrassing."

The 21-year-old deputy trainee, Angel Reinosa, claimed a sniper shot him in the parking lot of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station on Wednesday.

"We are disappointed and to think that it was someone in tan and green that did this breaks my heart," Villanueva said.

The mayor says the massive search cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"I was totally unavailable...when I finally learned of the situation, it was too late for me to get there physically," Villanueva explained why he was not present at the 11 p.m. Saturday night news conference that announced that Reinosa had admitted to fabricating the shooting.

The sheriff spoke Monday night to the Stonewall Democratic Club, a group representing the LGBTQ community that endorsed him.

Stonewall Democratic Club Vice President Jane Wishon says they've been critical of the sheriff for several decisions, including rehiring a deputy with previous alleged misconduct.

"I think it does further erode trust in the sheriff’s department," Wishon said about the sniper shooting hoax.

Monday night, the group passed a resolution. 

"We would like to see him work a little harder on getting the word out about what he’s doing and trying to bring back trust," Wishon said.

And the sheriff says that's what he plans to do, especially after being fooled by one of his own.

"We went through everything that the community went through, acting in good faith, thinking that we were facing a major threat," Villanueva said. "It was a hoax the entire time."

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