Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — Four people have now been arrested in connection with the shooting death of an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer, authorities said Jan. 12.
The officer, 27-year-old Fernando Arroyos, a three-year veteran of the LAPD, was shot about 9:15 p.m. Jan. 10 in an apparent exchange of gunfire with as many as three armed robbery suspects in the unincorporated Firestone-Florence neighborhood in the 8700 block of Beach Street. He died at an area hospital.
Five suspects were detained the day after the shooting for questioning — and four of them were arrested, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which is handling the investigation into the killing.
“We’ve been working around the clock on this case … working hand-in- hand with LAPD,” L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Jan. 12.
Referencing the arrests, he added, “Going to bring some people to justice.”
The names of the four suspects were not immediately released, nor was information on the status of the fifth suspect who had been detained for questioning.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 8700 block of Beach Street, just west of South Gate, where they found Arroyos with gunshot wounds, according to sheriff’s department.
According to a sheriff’s statement, a black pickup truck approached Arroyos and several suspects exited the vehicle.
An argument ensued and Arroyos was shot. The pickup drove away in an unknown direction. Deputies from the Century Sheriff’s Station responded to the location and transported the victim in their patrol car to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A perimeter spanning several blocks was set up as deputies scoured the area for suspects.
Arroyos was assigned to the LAPD’s Olympic Division, according to the department. An only child, he is survived by his mother, father and stepfather.
“He had a promising future, a bright future, that was taken away viciously over a street robbery,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.
Authorities said Arroyos was in a car with his girlfriend and exited the vehicle when the confrontation occurred with the three suspects, and the officer is believed to have exchanged gunfire with the assailants. It’s unclear if any of the suspects were struck. The officer’s girlfriend was not injured.
Authorities received a report of a second man suffering from gunshot wounds a few miles away from the scene of the shooting. The man was taken to a hospital and treated for his injuries, though investigators had yet to determine if the man’s injuries were related the shooting in the 8700 block of Beach Street.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, appearing at an LAUSD back-to-school event Jan. 11, said Arroyos was a son of immigrants. The mayor said Arroyos was with his girlfriend at the time of the attack, looking for their first home.
“My heart is broken. Our city’s heart is broken, and certainly our LAPD family’s hearts all grieve,” Garcetti said. “I spoke with his mother, who’s an immigrant, last night, at the hospital and stepfather. … And because this happened outside the city of Los Angeles, the sheriff’s department is taking the lead on all investigations, with very strong support from our Robbery-Homicide officers as well.”
Moore told reporters that authorities recovered the officer’s handgun and a firearm believed used by a suspect in the crime.
“We do believe that we have an officer-involved shooting here, that our officer exchanged gunfire with at least one of these suspects,” Moore said. “We do have our officer’s gun, and we have an additional weapon that we believe was responsible for this assault. … We know that we need the community’s help, but we also have every faith and confidence that we’ll be identifying the person or persons responsible for this terrible act and this grievous loss.”
“Tonight, we mourn the loss of one of our officers who was shot (and) killed in an armed robbery attempt,” said a tweet from the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD officers.
“The officer was off-duty. We pray for the officer’s family, and their fellow officers, during this time of pain and sorrow. This is an active investigation.”