An Arkansas police officer has been arrested on charges of filing a false police report, and fired from his position, after admitting to fabricating a story in which he said he exchanged gunfire with a suspect last month, Arkansas Online reports.
England, Ark., Police Sgt. David Houser, 50, admitted that he "fabricated" the story and that he himself fired the shot that hit his bulletproof vest, Police Chief Nathan Cook revealed.
"It's every chief's worst nightmare to get a call that your officer has been shot or involved in a shooting," Cook told the news site. "To investigate and find out it's self-inflicted just puts a whole different spin on it."
Houser surrendered to authorities Tuesday.
On Oct. 24, Houser reported that he was on patrol when he "exchanged gunfire with a suspect who fled from him driving a sport utility vehicle." Houser, who identified the make-believe suspect as a Hispanic man, said he'd been shot at multiple times and was hit once by a bullet that grazed his vest and was possibly deflected by a pen in his pocket.
State police investigated the alleged shooting and soon found information "contradictory to Houser's initial statement." After reinterviewing Houser Monday, Cook said he "admitted that he had fabricated that whole thing."
"He's obviously got some personal issues he's dealing with," Cook said. "Obviously he needs some help to have fabricated a shooting incident and to shoot yourself and claim you were shot at by someone who doesn't exist."
Houser's claim prompted a manhunt, for which England police received countless reports on tips and sightings of the man who, it turns out, doesn't exist, according to KTHV in an earlier report. Officers urged the public to be on the lookout for an early-2000-model Chevrolet Tahoe or GMC Yukon that may have had bullet holes in it.