The Bakersfield man accused of falsely reporting an active shooter at two Bakersfield hospitals plead not guilty to the charges in a courtroom Thursday.
46-year-old Mario Thompson of Bakersfield was arrested Wednesday for reporting a false emergency, being a felon in possession of pepper spray, possession of a controlled substance, impersonating an officer, and possession of a pellet gun.
Police officials said he was responsible for the false active shooter calls at Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, and at Mercy Southwest Hospital on Aug. 1.
In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, Thompson, a South High alumnus, acknowledged he suffers from mental illness, and said he needs counseling. He apologized for causing any harm, and responded to the allegations.
“I was being treated at the hospital for pain and there was a lady going crazy so I got help. That’s all I did.” Thompson said, adding a “hostile situation came about, so a nurse said there was a shooter outside. somebody activated the code [black] so they were thinking I was security because I was wearing a yellow cone jacket. So then I helped out with security there.”
When Thompson was asked if he had told anybody whether he was a police officer or hospital security guard, he acknowledged telling people he was a loss prevention officer.
“I just wanted to help,” he said. “That’s all. I didn’t mean no harm or anything. I really apologize for that. I really do. I didn’t realize the impact it caused. If I caused anything like that I’m really sorry.”
In the interview, he later said he does not work for an official company, instead claiming he works as a volunteer in Santa Monica preventing shoplifting and theft.
Asked about whether he made any calls to law enforcement, Thompson denied doing so.
“No. No I did not make any calls to the police [about an] active shooter at all,” he said.
Thompson confirmed he was at Mercy Southwest Hospital on Aug. 1 — the date that hospital when on lockdown following a false report of an active shooter — but Thompson said he had nothing to do with it.
“I was there for treatment, for pain. I was there, but I did not activate anything.”
Thompson, who has a prior criminal record, said he was diagnosed with a mental condition a few years ago, but he could not recall the name of the condition. He noted he needs counseling.
Thompson’s bail is set at $100,000. His pretrial hearing is scheduled for Thurs, Dec. 6, at 3 pm. The full interview can be found on KGET.com.