A man has pleaded no contest to a felony charge after he called in fake active shooter reports at two Bakersfield, Calif., hospitals and posed as a police officer.
In exchange for dropping six misdemeanor charges, 46-year-old Mario Thompson pleaded no contest to impersonating a police officer, reports KGET. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17.
Investigators say Thompson called police on Aug. 1 and falsely reported an active shooter situation at Mercy Southwest Hospital. He then did the same thing on Dec. 4 at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital.
Both calls led to hospital lockdowns and heavy police activity – including more than 100 police and emergency responders at Memorial Hospital. The call to Mercy Southwest also led to a lockdown at nearby Cal State Bakersfield.
During the Memorial Hospital response, Thompson was carrying a nylon pouch that read “police” and a badge resembling a Bakersfield Police Department badge that read “security enforcement.”
Thompson even drew a BB pistol, which police said was indistinguishable from a real gun, to help clear rooms. He was also later found with two cans of tear gas.
Court documents indicate Thompson said he was an undercover BPD officer and told the California Highway Patrol that he was hospital security.
“I never said I worked there, but I had my security gear on, loss prevention gear on,” Thompson said during his initial interview with police. “And I guess the head of security thought I worked there or something.”
Thompson later told investigators he made the calls to test Bakersfield police’s readiness for an active shooter.
In Dec. 2017, a real active shooter incident occurred at Bakersfield Heart Hospital when 44-year-old Brandon Clark shot through the doors of an employee entrance.
Clark then walked through the halls for three minutes and pointed a rifle at several employees but did not shoot. He was shot by responding Bakersfield officers in the employee parking lot but survived.
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