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Chief: Officer acknowledged 'fabricating' shooting story, arrested

by Arkansas Online | November 3, 2015 at 9:38 a.m. | Updated November 3, 2015 at 10:32 a.m.
This booking photo provided by the Lonoke County sheriff’s office shows David Houser. Houser, the Arkansas police officer who said he was shot during a traffic stop, was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, after authorities say the incident never happened.

An England police officer who said he exchanged gunfire with a suspect last month has been arrested on a charge of filing a false police report and fired from his position.

The arrest came after 50-year-old David Houser acknowledged he had "fabricated" the story and fired the shot that hit his bulletproof vest, England Police Department chief Nathan Cook said.

"It's every chief's worst nightmare to get a call that your officer has been shot or involved in a shooting," Cook said. "To investigate and find out it's self-inflicted just puts a whole different spin on it."

Houser, of Scott, surrendered to authorities earlier Tuesday and was released from the Lonoke County jail before 10 a.m., officials said.

State police said in a statement that Houser on Oct. 24 reported he was on patrol when he "exchanged gunfire with a suspect who fled from him driving a sport utility vehicle" on Arkansas 15 south of England. Houser also said he had been shot, the statement noted, though the bullet didn't penetrate the vest..

State police said they investigated and found information "contradictory to Houser's initial statement."

Bill Sadler, a spokesman for state police, said he couldn't release further details about what investigators believe actually happened because the investigation is ongoing.

Cook said police re-interviewed Houser Monday and he "admitted that he had fabricated that whole thing." Cook said he couldn't go into why Houser may have done it other than to say that "he's obviously got some personal issues he's dealing with."

"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," Cook said.

Check back for updates and see Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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