'How Can You Trust the Law?' Lancaster Residents React to Fabricated Shooting

"How can you trust the law? The law is designed for you to trust and protect and you have somebody lying."

Residents of the apartment complex raided during the fabricated sniper shooting reacted to the news it was a hoax after the authorities announced that Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Angel Reinosa admitted to making it up Saturday.

Elaine Cotton Davis, a Lancaster resident, was brought to tears -- upset and angry -- after learning Reinosa fabricated a claim that he was shot while standing in the parking lot of the Lancaster sheriff's station.

"How can you trust the law?" said Davis. "The law is designed for you to trust and protect and you have someone lying." 

The claim caused a massive manhunt and police response at her four-story apartment complex. Residents were told to leave while deputies conducted a room to room search.

"They treated us like criminals," said Jasmine Molett, an apartment resident. "I know a couple of my neighbors, they had their doors busted down."

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris drew criticism from some residents after saying the apartments "cater to the mentally ill" and expressing concern about the location of the complex so close to the sheriff's station.

"Our mayor disparaged the families of hard-working people that live here because it's affordable," said Kent McGuire, an apartment resident. "There's not mental issues."

Parris released a statement after the announcement on Saturday, apologizing for the upheaval but defending law enforcement's actions. 

"While we are aware that false claims can happen, until we know for certain, we will respond with the appropriate resources until we know the community is safe," Parris said. "We will always act to protect our city, and our local emergency responders did just that."

McGuire said, regardless, Parris's statements about the area showed "ignorance." 

"If he is that unaware what's going on in his community, maybe he shouldn’t be part of the community," said McGuire. 

The Lancaster Sheriff's Station posted on a statement on Facebook acknowledging the feelings of embarassment but stated the incident does not define the station.

"Just in case some of our incredible men and women in tan and green are feeling 'embarrassed/angry/ashamed' today, let us remind you of who you really are," the Facebook post said. "One moment does not leave your legacy, the work you do, day in, day out does." 

McGuire said he does not blame the sheriff's deputies for what happened on Wednesday and said they have a thankless job. 

Reinosa was relieved of duty Saturday and will likely face criminal charges.

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