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Police Officer Shoots Self In the Foot
January 28, 2011 10:13 AM   Subscribe

On January 19, 2011, a police officer was shot in front of El Camino High School in the LA Unified School District. First the school was locked down, then half the city, as police performed a car-by-car search for a white male in his 40's in a bomber jacket. Several people were detained. The intense manhunt lasted more than a day.

So, it turns out the police officer just kind of accidentally shot himself.
posted by jabberjaw (62 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 10:17 AM on January 28, 2011


The law enforcement community is in shock that a LAUSD officer would make false claims

Reeeeeally?
posted by c13 at 10:18 AM on January 28, 2011 [33 favorites]


They were THIS CLOSE to capturing Steven Seagal too!
posted by orme at 10:19 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I suppose it's progress that this time the fictional bogeyman was white.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:20 AM on January 28, 2011 [52 favorites]


How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

No idea. All I know is that anyone who manages to do it and doesn't die should never possess a gun again.
posted by rollbiz at 10:20 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


...car-by-car search for a white male in his 40's in a bomber jacket...

Actually, I'm pretty happy he didn't say it was a black male. It feels like a stunningly low bar, but hey, it's progress.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:21 AM on January 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


None of the news reports have talked about an "accidental" shooting. I don't know where that information is coming from.

jabberjaw, where are you getting the information about an accident? Again, the reports I've seen so far (and the ones you link to) have been very thin on details.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:21 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Los Angeles School Police"

A school system has its own branch of the municipal police force? They wear bulletproof vests every day? Say what you want about how soulless and unsustainable Suburbia is, I am not going to send my children into a system like that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:22 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Please tell me this guy isn't on paid administrative leave. I know he's been arrested, but it wouldn't shock me one bit.
posted by Big_B at 10:23 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Say what you want about how soulless and unsustainable Suburbia is...

"Sustainable" is not the first word that comes to mind when I think about any part of LA.
posted by gurple at 10:24 AM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Please tell me this guy isn't on paid administrative leave.

As the linked articles clearly state, the officer has been fired.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:24 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

By trying to spin the gun on your finger like Pecos Bill.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:25 AM on January 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


A school system has its own branch of the municipal police force?

The LAUSD has more than 725,000 students and teachers. If it were its own city, it would be one of the 20 most populous American cities, more populous than Boston, Washington, D.C., or Atlanta.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:26 AM on January 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


As the linked articles clearly state, the officer has been fired.

Due to his out and out lying and commission of a crime (false reporting), not his obvious ineptitude in handling his weapon.
posted by bearwife at 10:27 AM on January 28, 2011


How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

Perhaps the notorious Irishman Rick O'Shay was involved.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:28 AM on January 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


Due to his out and out lying and commission of a crime (false reporting), not his obvious ineptitude in handling his weapon.

Again, there has been no indication whatsoever that this shooting was accidental. It may very well have been an attention-getting scheme.

It is not even clear from news reports so far whether a gun was actually fired.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:29 AM on January 28, 2011


It looks like that just happened here too.
posted by electroboy at 10:29 AM on January 28, 2011


It happened in Vegas last February. No gun was fired in that incident; the officer faked the damage to his badge and vest with a phillips-head screwdriver.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:32 AM on January 28, 2011


Damn. I know people who live in Woodland Hills and were probably stuck in that seven-mile garrison perimeter while all of that went down. Unbelievable.
posted by blucevalo at 10:38 AM on January 28, 2011


As the linked articles clearly state, the officer has been fired.

Was this an attempt at a joke? Becuase I'm honestly not seeing anything saying he was fired.

Maybe I need more coffee.
posted by Big_B at 10:43 AM on January 28, 2011


How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

It sounds like someone needs a hug.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 10:44 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


How to manhunts and car searches work exactly, legally speaking?

The police are conducting a manhunt over my way(for an actual suspect) and there are reports of car being searched 3 or 4 times.
I imagine after a while, you'd get pretty sick of all of it and I'm curious if anyone knows exactly how much you're required to put up with.
posted by madajb at 10:46 AM on January 28, 2011


Was this an attempt at a joke? Becuase I'm honestly not seeing anything saying he was fired.

It's in the last link.
posted by ripley_ at 10:46 AM on January 28, 2011


"Also at issue is a nearby resident's call regarding a prowler matching the shooter's description, according to a live report on KTLA."

It's interesting how this happens. Give people a bogeyman, and they will see him.
posted by madajb at 10:47 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

At a shooting range I used to go to, every serious accident with a firearm over the past ten years had been a police officer. Several of them shot themselves, although more commonly in the leg.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:48 AM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Sometimes, after too much beer & pizza, I go to bed and have a dream where we react with this level of passion & indignation in our law enforcement efforts when some non-uniformed young brown person gets shot.

It never goes on long; the unreality shocks me out of it and back awake.

Seriously, I get the need to strongly prosecute violence against our police officers. But the difference in importance we attach to "officer down" vs "joe blow got shot" has reached a divide I practically feel embarrassed by.
posted by phearlez at 10:51 AM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Say what you want about how soulless and unsustainable Suburbia is, I am not going to send my children into a system like that.

This is in the Woodland Hills area, right next to Calabasas, so this this would definitely classify as suburbia. About 80% white and median home cost of somewhere around $900K. El Camino Real High School is somehwat well known for having won several national academic decathlon championships over the last few years. So, no, not exactly the urban warfare landscape that you may picture.
posted by roquetuen at 10:52 AM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Joe Beese: "I suppose it's progress that this time the fictional bogeyman was white."

Totally... Last time he was black.
posted by symbioid at 10:52 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bathtub Bobsled: How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

Boredom. Oh, you weren't asking "why."


Kirth Gerson: "Los Angeles School Police"

A school system has its own branch of the municipal police force? They wear bulletproof vests every day? Say what you want about how soulless and unsustainable Suburbia is, I am not going to send my children into a system like that.


I was wondering about this, too. The internet has the answer: "The Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) was established in August of 1948 to create a safe and tranquil environment for the students, teachers and staff of the Los Angeles Unified School District."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:54 AM on January 28, 2011


Big_B: "As the linked articles clearly state, the officer has been fired.

Was this an attempt at a joke? Becuase I'm honestly not seeing anything saying he was fired.
"

Cortines said the LAUSD has relieved Stenroos of duty and begun the process of firing him.

4th Paragraph.
posted by zarq at 10:55 AM on January 28, 2011


Pryzybylewski.
posted by cybrcamper at 10:57 AM on January 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


...not exactly the urban warfare landscape that you may picture.

Then why do they need a cop with a bulletproof vest and a gun there?


"The Los Angeles School Police Department (LASPD) was established in August of 1948 to create a safe and tranquil environment for the students, teachers and staff of the Los Angeles Unified School District."

Doesn't seem to be working, at least WRT the 'tranquil' part. Personally, having armed men around doesn't usually enhance my tranquility.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:59 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, so the options here are "accident", "failed suicide attempt," "malingering via self-injury," and "attention-getting scheme" it looks like.

Presumably we will find out what was actually going through this gentleman's mind at some later date.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:03 AM on January 28, 2011


Then why do they need a cop with a bulletproof vest and a gun there?

Police officers in the United States carry firearms generally. An officer without a gun is a rare exception. A majority of US police officers (about 60%, from what I can tell) wear ballistic vests when on the job.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:04 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

Same way you bit yourself on the forehead. You use a ladder.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:04 AM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Then why do they need a cop with a bulletproof vest and a gun there?

Yeah, exactly my point. Security is important, but the garrisoning of any school, regardless of what neighborhood it is in, is generally a bad idea. The idea that you can run from paranoia by simply heading to the suburbs is, at least as demonstrated in this case, sadly mistaken.
posted by roquetuen at 11:08 AM on January 28, 2011


My son goes to one of the schools that was under lockdown during the manhunt. I have never, NEVER, seen this many police cars in one location. Hundreds. Of. Them. All within a 7 mile radius, but mostly clustered around the high school. I imagine there are quite a few angry cops feeling duped today (although it seems possible that the officer in question was under suspicion much earlier.)
I have to give the guy a little credit for his imaginary suspect, though. Usually the bogeyman is a young black male, or at least a neo-nazi. His description of a shaggy grey-haired white guy pretty much describes about 1/6 of the adult males (including my husband) in the neighborhood. Couple that with the $100,000 reward the LAPD was offering and I'll bet a lot of middle-aged guys were getting the suspicious side-eye in the Ralph's checkout line over the last week.
posted by biddeford at 11:12 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The idea that you can run from paranoia by simply heading to the suburbs is, at least as demonstrated in this case, sadly mistaken."

In Soviet America, paranoia heads for the suburbs!
posted by Xoebe at 11:13 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I suppose it's progress that this time the fictional bogeyman was white."

"Actually, I'm pretty happy he didn't say it was a black male. It feels like a stunningly low bar, but hey, it's progress."


Well, LAPD are liars, but they're not stupid. L.A. is overdue for a riot, and they know it.
posted by Eideteker at 11:22 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think it matters much how he was injured -- though from what the news reports cited do say, including that he was taken to a medical center and examined there, and, per the last article,his bulletproof vest absorbed the impact of a single gunshot, it does appear he was shot.

What seems significant is that he apparently committed a felony -- falsely reporting a crime -- and continued to lie about it while the alleged incident was inconveniencing or limiting the liberty of a lot of other people. I'm glad to read that he was arrested for that as well as fired from his job.
posted by bearwife at 11:29 AM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


A school district with it's own police force = beyond Thunderdome!
posted by Brocktoon at 11:30 AM on January 28, 2011


Perhaps the notorious Irishman Rick O'Shay was involved.

Nah, Rick O'Shea is a lover, not a fighter! Appropriate profile pic though...
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2011


I have to give the guy a little credit for his imaginary suspect, though. Usually the bogeyman is a young black male

Perhaps he was reminded of Jesse Anderson.
posted by rhizome at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2011


Sometimes, after too much beer & pizza, I go to bed and have a dream where we react with this level of passion & indignation in our law enforcement efforts when some non-uniformed young brown person gets shot.

I was visiting in Davie, FL last October when just such a thing happened. We went out for breakfast and returned to find that we couldn't get back into their subdivision; the whole area was locked down looking for a guy who shot a "non-uniformed young brown person". From the time we were aware of it until the time we were allowed back in the subdivision, it was over 6 hours. I don't know how long the whole thing lasted. Police all over, no one allowed in or out, quite a large area locked down, because we looked later and the shooting had been a couple of miles away.

Poor kid :(
posted by galadriel at 11:42 AM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


But the difference in importance we attach to "officer down" vs "joe blow got shot" has reached a divide I practically feel embarrassed by.

Yeah, Mr hippybear and I often have this conversation whenever we hear about a police officer being shot. The idea that because they are agents of the state that their lives are somehow more valuable, more worth seeking justice for... it's pretty crappy.

Of course, the real reason for this is to instill in the populace the idea that you NEVER EVER do anything against the cops. Crowd control is best exerted by making it culturally unacceptable to ever cross certain lines of behavior. And that's what they do when they react so strongly to police being shot.
posted by hippybear at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have to give the guy a little credit for his imaginary suspect, though. Usually the bogeyman is a young black male

Perhaps he was reminded of Jesse Anderson.
posted by rhizome at 11:38 AM on January 28 [+] [!]


Not to mention Susan Smith, Charles Stuart, Charles Ramsey and Ashley Todd.(warning, graphic image)
posted by biddeford at 12:09 PM on January 28, 2011


How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

Police had said Stenroos was shot in the chest Jan. 19 after he confronted a man who was attempting to break into vehicles near the eastern boundary of the El Camino Real High School campus.

Perhaps by trying to use your service pistol to smash windows to break into vehicles, and it accidentally discharges?
posted by xedrik at 12:21 PM on January 28, 2011


Well, LAPD are liars, but they're not stupid.

I understand your point, but all things being equal, accidentally shooting yourself in the chest must put you somewhere on the continuum of stupid.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:28 PM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Of course, the real reason for this is to instill in the populace the idea that you NEVER EVER do anything against the cops. Crowd control is best exerted by making it culturally unacceptable to ever cross certain lines of behavior. And that's what they do when they react so strongly to police being shot.

I think there's some of this, but I think there's even more of the same dynamic that's going on when violence against black people is ignored while violence against white people is made a huge issue of.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:31 PM on January 28, 2011


What a douchebag officer. I hope he gets ALL sorts of heat from his fellow officers for making la cops looking even worse than they do.

Also, he should have to pay for wasting ALL those resources.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:33 PM on January 28, 2011


How do you accidentally shoot yourself in the chest?

Roll a natural 1 on your Operate Firearm check, apparently. And I used to think that entries like that on the Critical Failure table were silly.
posted by thudthwacker at 12:39 PM on January 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


But the difference in importance we attach to "officer down" vs "joe blow got shot" has reached a divide I practically feel embarrassed by.

You should feel embarrassed if you're a police officer. Otherwise you should be feeling something else.
posted by clarknova at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2011


I'm glad to read that he was arrested for that as well as fired from his job.

Don't worry, it'll pass.
posted by phearlez at 1:04 PM on January 28, 2011


The thought occurred to me that we would have heard very little about this if the police hadn't already received so much publicity about the issue.

I am waiting to see when they issue the standard boilerplate "this was a justified shooting" statement.
Just kidding.

posted by Xoebe at 1:06 PM on January 28, 2011


phearlez, I think the difference here is going to come down to money spent. Our guy had practically every squad car in the valley (around 350-400!) on the scene, plus at least 8 police helicopters circling around for close to 9 hours. Add to that the schools under lockdown (3 in the end, but 7 or eight at mid afternoon), the residents locked out, the insane rush hour traffic tangle... and I don't think this officer will be forgot and forgiven any time soon.

So the lesson here? Brutal assault against one (brown) person=okay, inconveniencing a town full of (mainly white) homeowners= beyond contemptible.
posted by biddeford at 1:21 PM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it news that cops take (alleged) attacks on other cops pretty seriously?

No idea why the guy lied though. Clearly he isn't fit to be an officer.

Hope someone goes through his cases to make sure they're all on the up and up.
posted by Allan Gordon at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2011


I'm glad to read that he was arrested ...

Now would the arresting officers give him a good beating as a matter of course, him having shot a cop and all?
posted by Kabanos at 2:39 PM on January 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


He was reaching for his other lie.
posted by telstar at 2:58 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


How was he caught? Did I miss that part?
posted by malocchio at 7:19 PM on January 28, 2011


How was he caught? Did I miss that part?

Internal investigation revealed that he was full of crap, according to the last two articles.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:24 PM on January 28, 2011


Wow. I work in Woodland Hills and was barely outside of the perimeter when this happened, so I was actually able to get home afterwords. If I had been stuck inside and then found out about this, I'd be pissed. I just feel bad for all the kids stuck in school all day because of this asshole.
posted by fishmasta at 7:54 PM on January 28, 2011


"No Heart Anthony"
posted by blueberry at 3:27 AM on January 29, 2011


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