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Does the punishment fit the crime for man accused of fake shooter reports?

Mario Thompson appears Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, in Kern County court in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Mario Thompson, the man accused of making false reports of active shooters at two Bakersfield hospitals, was sentenced Thursday on one felony count of impersonating an officer. He received three years felony probation and 270 days in jail. Thompson will also receive credit for time served since being arrested in December.

Thompson was initially charged with six other misdemeanors, but those charges were eventually dropped. Deputy District Attorney Joe Kinzel said the misdemeanor charges wouldn’t add any additional time to Thompson’s sentence, which is why they perused the single felony charge.

“He ended up pleading guilty to the only felony he was charged with, which was false impersonation of (a) police officer. That's based upon what he did after officers arrived. He essentially pretended to be a police officer and helped them secure the scene," Kinzel said.

Kinzel said he believes the punishment fit the crime in this case, but there is room for improvement as far as the law is concerned.

"Interestingly, the way the law is set up giving a false report of an emergency, for example, a bomb threat is a felony, in and of itself, but that hasn't been brought to apply to an active shooter,” Kinzel said.

Because the response for a false bomb threat is almost identical to the response of a false active shooter report, Kinzel said the discrepancies in the two crimes is something that should be addressed.

“When these cases continue to pile up across the state, do the laws need to adjust to fit the realities of what we're seeing in our state?” Kinzel said.

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