Former Warren police officer pleads guilty to charges that he made up story about shooting

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Investigators say Noah Linnen lied about being shot at in Howland Township, leading to a manhunt for a suspect

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A former Warren police officer who was accused of lying about a shooting incident pleaded guilty to amended charges Tuesday in court.

Noah Linnen entered a guilty plea to felony charges of tampering with evidence, inducing panic, and disrupting public service. A sentencing date hasn’t been set yet; a pre-sentencing investigation was ordered first.

“I think that 99.9% of the police officers that we deal with go above and beyond to do a good job and protect their reputations. Unfortunately, we end up with that .1% that do become a problem,” said Assistant Prosecutor Michael Burnett.

Linnen was fired from the department in January and faced felony charges after an investigation of a shooting that he reported earlier that month in Howland Township.

Burnett said on January 13, Linnen used his police-issued radio to report an unidentified black man in a dark-colored SUV shot at him. It sent roughly 60 officers to the scene, prompting traffic stops and even law enforcement officers surrounding a home in an attempt to find the culprit.

Burnett said during the course of the investigation, Linnen changed his story several times and finally admitted to making it up to cover an accidental discharge of his duty weapon.

In Linnen’s termination letter, Warren Police Chief Eric Merkel wrote Linnen confessed to Howland police that his original claim was fabricated and the scene was staged to mimic an armed robbery attempt and shooting.

Linnen faces up to six years at sentencing.

Burnett said they will recommend he serve time, in addition to paying back nearly $15,000 in restitution for the manpower that wasted time responding to a bogus report.

“It’s sending a message to that particular ex-police officer, and it’s also sending a message to society in general that we’re not going to stand by. We’re not going to cover up for bad police officers,” he said.
 

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