Off-Duty Officer Was Fatally Shot

(CNN) An off-duty officer was fatally shot during an attempted robbery while house-hunting with his girlfriend, according to Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore.
Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, "was starting a very promising career," Moore said Tuesday. He was with the department for three years and assigned to the Wilshire Division.
"He found himself, after working a series of days in patrol, to have a day off, enjoying it with his girlfriend on a hunt for a house, a place to live, a place to buy and invest in in this city and the future of this region," recounted Moore about Monday night's incident.

The pair parked their car on a street just outside the city limits, and was crossing the street to look at a home, according to Moore,
The chief said three men got out of black pickup and tried to rob Arroyos. One had a handgun, the chief said, citing preliminary information.
"The officer yelled to his girlfriend to leave, to run, go back to the car," Moore said.
There were gunshots and the officer, who returned fire, was hit, the chief said.
The suspects fled in their truck while the officer's girlfriend tended to Arroyos. Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies responded to the scene and took the officer to a hospital where he died. The sheriff's department is investigating the shooting.
Arroyos is survived by his mother and stepfather.
"He was the only child, he had a promising future, a bright future that was taken away, viciously, over a street robbery," Moore lamented.
Sad, RIP...

Re: Off-Duty Officer Was Fatally Shot

Yes, tragic and only 27 years of age. He had a degree from UC Berkeley and could have applied to the FBI, but chose to stay in his community. Since it was an unincorporated area of LA County the LA Sheriff's Dept has jurisdiction, no doubt Chief Michel Moore will stay on top of it.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Off-Duty Officer Was Fatally Shot

Four people have been arrested in connection with the killing of off-duty Los Angeles Police Officer Fernando Arroyos during an armed robbery Monday evening in an unincorporated area of South L.A.

L.A. County Sheriff’s officials announced the arrests Wednesday morning, but said they were not providing further details because doing so could compromise the investigation. The department would not release the identities of those arrested or their booking details, including whether the four suspects were arrested on suspicion of murder or other crimes.

The announcement of the arrests came after Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Capt. Joe Mendoza revealed Tuesday that his detectives had detained three men and two women for questioning in connection with the killing. Mendoza said his detectives also were examining a connection to another wounded man found in the same Florence-Firestone neighborhood Monday evening.

Arroyos, 27, was on the force for three years and worked out of the Olympic Division. A mentor in the department described him as a smart Los Angeles native who had graduated from LAUSD schools and U.C. Berkeley before returning to L.A. to become a police officer and help the community. ... -south-l-a
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Off-Duty Officer Was Fatally Shot

Federal prosecutors charged four people Thursday in the fatal shooting of an off-duty Los Angeles police officer, alleging they are members and an associate of a street gang who killed the officer while trying to rob him.

Jesse Contreras, 34; Ernesto Cisneros, 22; Luis Alfredo de la Rosa Rios, 27, and Haylee Marie Grisham, 18, are charged with murdering Officer Fernando Arroyos in a violent crime in aid of racketeering for the Florencia 13 gang. Prosecutors allege that all three men are members of the gang and that Grisham, Rios’ girlfriend, is an associate. The complaint alleges the four defendants committed the robbery and murder “to increase and maintain position” within the multigenerational street gang.

If convicted of the federal charges — unusual for a local homicide case — the defendants would be subject to the death penalty because they are accused of murder in the commission of a robbery, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement. They are expected to be transferred to federal custody Friday morning and appear in court later in the day.

“I am grateful for the federal involvement in this case,” L.A. Police Chief Michel Moore said at a Thursday night news conference about the arrests. “It is appropriate. I am thankful for the U.S. attorney stepping in and bringing the full weight of the government against this gang, against these individuals.”

The charges come three days after Arroyos, 27, and his girlfriend were attacked while parked in an alley in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone neighborhood near Watts. The couple were house hunting and had stopped to take pictures of a place that was for sale when two of the men pulled up in a pickup and approached them, authorities said.

According to a sworn affidavit from an FBI agent, Rios told L.A. County sheriff’s investigators in an interview that all four of them were in the truck the night of the robbery: He was driving, Grisham was in the passenger seat, and Cisneros and Contreras were behind them, when they spotted Arroyos and his girlfriend.

Surveillance video of the attack shows Rios and Cisneros pointing guns at the couple, according to the affidavit, which also says they took a chain off the officer’s neck and a black walking stick from his girlfriend.

After an exchange of gunfire between the two suspects and the officer, Arroyos ran toward the alley and collapsed, according to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Seamus Kane. It does not say who fired first.

Arroyos’ girlfriend returned to the car and tried to pull him inside, calling 911, police said.

The assailants fled. When Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrived, they raced the wounded officer in their patrol car to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

A second video suggests that Cisneros was injured by Arroyos’ gunfire. Surveillance video from Junction Street shows Contreras lifting Cisneros, who appears to be injured, out of the black pickup and removing items of clothing from him. Contreras appears to hide the clothing at the side of a house, according to the affidavit.

Rios told L.A. County sheriff’s investigators in an interview that the group was driving around looking to “make money” — a term for robberies — when they came upon the couple, according to the affidavit.

He told investigators that his moniker is “Lil J” and that he is a member of F13, as Florencia 13 is known, and he showed deputies a Florencia 13 tattoo on his chest and a tattoo on his arm with his clique, “Tiny Locos,” according to the affidavit. Similarly, Cisneros said his moniker is “Gonzo” and displayed several tattoos for the gang, as did Contreras, who said he had not been active since having children.

Rios admitted to firing a handgun during the robbery and believed Cisneros discharged a weapon too. Waiving his rights, he told investigators that he searched the girlfriend, taking her walking stick, and that Cisneros had removed Arroyos’ wallet from his pants pocket.

Rios admitted he discarded a white hoodie after it became bloody when a bullet grazed his left rib cage, according to the affidavit. He also said that Cisneros handed him Arroyos’ wallet and that he threw it away in the aftermath after taking $100.

Contreras told investigators that chains Arroyos was wearing around his neck led them to rob the couple, but he did not admit to the shooting, according to the affidavit.

Grisham allegedly told investigators that Rios said, “He has a nice chain, let’s get it.” She said that she saw Cisneros point a gun at the man and tell him, “Give him his chains,” and that she saw Rios, who was armed, search the woman. She then heard several shots, according to the affidavit, and when Cisneros got back in the truck he had an injury and said “he had a broken leg.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Joe Mendoza of the department’s Homicide Bureau said the suspects stole two silver chains, one with a sword pendant, and a black, bifold wallet.

About 10 minutes after the shooting, deputies at the Century station got a call reporting a shooting victim near Junction Street and East 60th Street, Mendoza said. That person was later identified as Cisneros.

An address nearby was tied to one of the suspects, the captain said, adding that the four are believed to be responsible for other robberies in the area.

In the hours after the killing, sheriff’s homicide detectives, with assistance from their counterparts in the LAPD, questioned several men and women they believed had information about the killing, sources said. On Wednesday morning, Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced four men had been arrested in connection to the killing, but he declined to name them or provide more details.

The investigators, according to the affidavit, placed someone working with law enforcement in cells with the suspects to extract information about their crimes and gang connections.

Arroyos was a talented student who attended Crenshaw High School and went on to graduate from UC Berkeley, and he had been saving for a home during his three years as an LAPD officer, his mother said after his killing.

He died in a neighborhood that has experienced a sharp rise in violent crime over the last two years, part of a broader increase in killings and shootings throughout the city and county. Florence-Firestone has been among the neighborhoods hit hardest. According to county coroner data, there were 24 homicides in the neighborhood in the first 11 months of 2021, compared with nine during the same period in 2020 and 12 in 2019. Last year’s killings were the highest in a decade.

Sheriff’s officials have tied much of the bloodshed in the area to the Florencia 13 gang.

In 2019, federal prosecutors indicted 36 alleged members and associates of the gang, charging them with engaging in a criminal enterprise, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, attempted murder and assault.

Typically, police would take a case such as this to prosecutors in the district attorney’s office, who would file charges in county Superior Court. But Villanueva, an outspoken critic of Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s decision to no longer pursue sentencing enhancements in gang cases, directed detectives to take the case to the U.S. attorney’s office, several sources said. Those enhancements in a murder case can mean the difference between a life term with the prospect of release and never again coming out from behind bars.

Asked at the Thursday night news conference whether the Sheriff’s Department had consulted with Gascón’s office, Villanueva said yes and called the county prosecutors’ response “not satisfactory.”

“I believe their plan was to just prosecute a simple murder with no gun enhancements, no gang enhancements, nothing,” the sheriff said. “And that really did not cover the depravity of this crime…. It should be noted that the California penal code does cover all these things. The tools are there but we need to have someone who’s willing to use them.”

Murder in California generally is punishable by 25 years to life in prison. However, with a special circumstance — such as gang membership or murder in the commission of another crime — a defendant can be sentenced to life without parole. ... pd-officer
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Off-Duty Officer Was Fatally Shot

Mikeinmich wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:06 pm I’m confused. In MI they’d get life without parol for felony-murder even if the jury didn’t find premeditation. No exceptions (unless a plea bargain). Do they not have that in CA - they even have the death penalty. I’m missing something.

BTW- I think this is horrible too and I’m glad they caught them.

I agree it is confusing. CA still has the death penalty, but the LA County DA George Gascon has prohibited his prosecutors from pursuing the death penalty and CA Gov Gavin Newsom placed a moratorium in 2019 on any executions in CA. There are 747 inmates on CAs death row.

The current DA is a former San Francisco DA and before that he was an Asst. Chief of LAPD. He defeated the incumbent black female LA County DA by moving farther to the left. And since Gascon also prohibited adding gang enhancements to charges, Sheriff Villanueva took this case to the US Atty for the Central District of CA. Villanueva himself is a very controversial character who is up for reelection this year, he has been in a constant battle with the county board of supervisors (commissioners).
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: Off-Duty Officer Was Fatally Shot

Federal prosecutors this evening filed a criminal complaint charging three members and an associate of a Los Angeles street gang with violating a federal racketeering statute for their roles in the robbery and fatal shooting earlier this week of Los Angeles Police Officer Fernando Arroyos.

The criminal complaint alleges that two of the defendants confronted Arroyos and his girlfriend on the night of January 10, stole items from them, and then shot Arroyos, who died soon after suffering a single gunshot wound.

The complaint charges the four defendants with violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR), whereby the defendants, as consideration for the receipt of anything of value of the Florencia 13 (F13) gang, and to increase and maintain position within F13, murdered Arroyos. F13 is a large, multi-generational street gang that previously has been the subject of federal prosecutions, including two large racketeering cases.

The defendants in this case were taken into custody on Wednesday by investigators with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Those defendants are expected to be transferred to federal custody Friday morning and to make their initial court appearances Friday afternoon in United States District Court.

The defendants charged today are:

Luis Alfredo De La Rosa Rios, 29, an F13 member also known as “Lil J”;
Ernesto Cisneros, 22, an F13 member also known as “Gonzo”;
Jesse Contreras, 34, an F13 member who claimed a moniker of “Skinny Jack,” but who also may be known as “Flaco”; and
Haylee Marie Grisham, 18, who is Rios’ girlfriend.
The VICAR charge carries a potential death penalty – and minimum sentence of life in federal prison without the possibility of parole – because Officer Arroyos allegedly was murdered during the robbery.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Arroyos – who is identified in the affidavit as “F.A.” – and his girlfriend were looking at a home potentially to purchase on East 87th Street in Los Angeles when a black pickup truck arrived. Rios and Cisneros confronted the victims, pointing guns and removing property from both, including chains from Arroyos’ neck.

“At some point after Cisneros removed victim F.A.’s chains, victim F.A. and the two suspects exchanged gunfire,” the affidavit states. “Victim F.A. ran toward an alley where he collapsed and the two suspects fled.”

Investigators have obtained surveillance video showing the black pickup arriving at a residence near the shooting, where Contreras is seen exiting the vehicle and helping an apparently injured Cisneros out of the truck, the affidavit states. All four defendants were in the vehicle and allegedly were at the scene of the robbery and shooting.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from the FBI, is conducting the investigation in this matter. ... se-robbery

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office denied Friday it had been asked to consider filing criminal charges in the robbery and murder of off-duty LAPD Officer Fernando Arroyos, who was shot to death during a gunfight with alleged gang members Monday in a South Los Angeles neighborhood.

The DA's Office said in a email that it was never consulted on potential criminal charges before the LA County Sheriff's Department, which investigated the murder, presented its evidence to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which announced Thursday the four people arrested in the case would face federal racketeering allegations which could lead to death sentences.

“It was indicated to us that the case was referred to Federal authorities, who filed charges. As such, we did not have an opportunity to review the case," said Alex Bastian, Special Advisor to District Attorney George Gascón.

Multiple law enforcement sources disputed the DA's account, telling the NBC4 ITeam that while there may not have been a formal presentation of evidence, there were numerous discussions earlier this week between investigators and DA's office personnel about the facts of the case and the potential charges involved.

"Well, we definitely had conversations with the local DA. And their response was not satisfactory to the gravity of the situation," LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters at a Thursday night press conference.

Villanueva said his detectives opted to take the case to federal prosecutors because the DA would refuse to file certain enhancements under California law that would elevate the severity of punishment for anyone convicted of the murder.

The LA County DA's Office has a unit dedicated to investigating and prosecuting attacks on law enforcement, called "CAPOS," or Crimes Against Police Officers.

The unit dispatched two of its prosecutors to the scene of the Arroyos murder, and members of the unit participated in discussions on Tuesday and Wednesday about gathering the evidence necessary to file state criminal charges, the sources told NBCLA.

Upon taking office a year ago Gascón instituted a variety of reforms aimed at reducing many criminal penalties, including blanket orders that prohibited prosecutors from filing most sentencing enhancements, which can amplify prison time when crimes involve gangs, guns, repeat offenders, or special categories of victims.

"I believe their plan was just prosecute a simple murder with no gun enhancements, no gang enhancements, nothing. And that did not really cover the depravity of this crime," Villanueva said.

Arroyos died at St. Francis Medical Center after he was shot Monday night in the 1700 block of E. 87th Street while looking for a house for sale with his girlfriend.

The federal criminal complaint filed Thursday accused three men and a woman of participating in the robbery and murder of Arroyos in furtherance of "Florencia 13," a multi-generational street gang that was previously the target of federal organized crime investigations. ... g/2797716/

The DA and the Sheriff are both Latino but they don't like each other.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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