Mario Thompson, the man accused of two false active shooter alarms at two local hospitals, said he didn't initiate the alerts but that it was exhilarating to be around SWAT officers who responded to the scenes.
"It gave me such an adrenaline rush to be around SWAT .... helping SWAT out, because I always wanted to be a cop," he said Wednesday night at the downtown jail, where he was being held on several charges.
He said he went to Memorial Hospital for pain on Tuesday and as he was leaving, the call came out over the intercom that there was an active shooter situation. He was wearing a bright yellow vest so a security guard asked if he is a police officer. He said he was not but that he was a loss prevention officer at a store.
Thompson, 46, said he has a learning disability and personality disorder and receives Social Security for his disabilities. He wore a beige jail uniform and appeared calm but intimidated during the interview.
He admitted to inserting himself into the Bakersfield Police investigation as they searched for the active shooter. But he also said he had been given the medications Oxycodone, an opiod painkiller, and a muscle relaxer, and the drugs began to take effect as he was being interviewed by police.
"I could've said anything," he said. "I was doped up on medication."
He said it was coincidental that he was at both Mercy Southwest Hospital in August and Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Tuesday when both facilities experienced active shooter false alarms and had to be put on lockdown.
"It just happened. I couldn't believe it. It felt like I won the lottery or something. How could this happen?" he said.
"It looks kind of weird but I didn't make either of the calls."
Thompson said he grew up in Bakersfield, attended South High School and then Bakersfield College, where he played football for a year. He currently lives in Bakersfield and works as what he called a "freelance loss prevention officer" in Santa Monica on the weekends. He studied criminology in college and said he always wanted to be a police officer.
"I was picked on by bullies. I can't stand bullies at all," he said.
He thinks surveillance video will show that he's innocent. "It makes me feel really bad ... I would never put anyone in danger for my own gain or anything like that."
He appeared remorseful for what had happened, but maintained his innocence.
"I'm really, really sorry," he said. "I'm really a nice guy."