Four months. Two hospitals. Two falsified active shooter alerts. One man responsible.
An arrest was made Wednesday in connection with two false reports of an active shooter at two different hospitals.
The first, at Mercy Southwest Hospital occurred on August 1. The second, Tuesday, December 4 at Memorial Hospital. Investigators say the man who is in custody tonight, was responsible for both.
Just after midnight Wednesday, Bakersfield Police arrested Mario Thompson – a 46 year old with a criminal record in Kern County that dates back to 1991. But this time, Thompson is in custody for serial false reports of an active shooter at two different hospitals in Bakersfield. Now we know, the imminent threat was him.
According to police, Mario Thompson called the operator at Memorial Hospital Tuesday afternoon around 1:30 to report an active shooter. A call police say, he made from inside the hospital. That’s when the operator called Bakersfield Police initiating a code black.
“The person that made the phone call identified themselves as an employee,” said Ken Keller, the Chief Operating Officer at Memorial Hospital, the day after the incident.
Law enforcement, fire crews, ambulances and K-9 officers swarmed the scene. Memorial Hospital was on lock down for three hours.
This comes four months, almost to the day, after a strikingly similar situation at Mercy Southwest Hospital, 9 miles away.
The common link? Mario Thompson.
Memorial Hospital security says Thompson identified himself to them as a police officer during Tuesday’s incident. Thompson then identified himself to police as being a Memorial security guard.
Thompson is neither.
But police say he was wearing a security badge and inserting himself into the active investigation.
Keller did his best to assure the media and the public, Memorial security is tight despite this breach. “He did not have a Dignity Health or Memorial security badge from us,” said Keller.
There were no shots fired and no one was injured in either incident. But now, Thompson is in custody for both of these false alarms.
Thompson was arrested for reporting a false emergency, felon in possession of pepper spray, possession of a controlled substance, impersonating an officer, and possession of a pellet gun. Thompson’s bail is set at $21,500. His hearing is Thursday at 3 p.m.