Man accused of falsely reporting active shooters speaks from jail
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – The man arrested for allegedly calling in false reports of active shooters at two Bakersfield hospitals spoke to Eyewitness News from jail Wednesday night and claimed his innocence.
Mario Thompson, 46, said he didn’t call authorities on either occasion.
Police swarmed the hospitals on both occasions and put both hospitals on lockdown, but no shots were ever fired.
Police also said Thompson lied to hospital staff and police, claiming, at times, to be either hospital security or a city police officer during the incident this week at Memorial Hospital.
Thompson was found during the Memorial incident wearing a security badge and "acting suspiciously," inserting himself into the active investigation, according to a police news release.
Thompson is neither a hospital employee nor a law enforcement officer, according to police.
Thompson told Eyewitness News during his jailhouse interview that he believes it was all a misunderstanding.
He said officials during this week’s incident might’ve mistaken him for a police officer or security guard because of what he was wearing.
"I never said I worked there, but I had my security gear on, loss prevention gear on,” Thompson described. “And I guess the head of security thought I worked there or something."
Thompson told Eyewitness News that he felt the need to help hospital staff and police while the situation was unfolding, but he said officials should have been more vigilant and realized he was a patient.
Police said Thompson was found with a pellet gun, pepper spray and prescription pills - none of which he's allowed to have. Thompson is prohibited from carrying pepper spray because he's a felon, and he was illegally in possession of the medication and pellet gun, police said.
“The thing that bothers me is, why did they interview me while I was under the influence?” Thompson said. “They didn’t even know I was a patient at the hospital when they arrested me.”
While chalking the whole thing up to a misunderstanding, and he also gave an apology.
"I was just trying to help. That's all,” Thompson said. “If I caused any confusion, if I caused anything like that, I apologize for all of that. I did not make those calls. I just tried to help during the confusion.”
Thompson also vouched for his innocence during the Aug. 1 incident at Mercy Southwest, saying he was in the hallway and did not call authorities about an active-shooter situation.