Freelance LAPD officer Fernando Uriel Arroyos and his girlfriend were shopping for a home in the unincorporated Florence Firestone neighborhood of Los Angeles around 9 p.m. Jan. 10, about 8 miles from where Arroyos went to Crenshaw High .
Arroyos, 27, wanted a house big enough for his mother to join the couple, and close enough — but not close enough that he could run into troublemakers from the old neighborhood or from a nearby Olympic patrol unit — so that the third-year officer would all could still serve in the police. the area where he grew up.
Three gang members and a woman who already lived in the area were also shopping that day, looking for robbery victims, authorities said.
A woman named Hayley Marie Grisham, a friend of one of the gang members, was already equipped with new clothes and shoes bought with the proceeds of a robbery about 19 hours ago, according to a federal criminal lawsuit.
As Luis Alfredo de los Rosa Ríos was driving his black pickup truck down E. 87th Street, he noticed the jewelry around Arroyos’ neck.
“He’s got a good chain, let’s get it,” Rios said, according to Grisham.
The gang members confronted Arroyos and his girlfriend. The complaint states that after the shootout, Arroyos ran into an alley where he passed out. The attackers left, one of them fired, and the other was wounded in other ways.
Arroyos later died from a single bullet wound.
Rios, 29, Grisham, 18, Ernesto Cisneros, 22, and Jesse Contreras, 34, were arrested Wednesday on violent crime charges of facilitating extortion — a crime in the interest of a business. The federal prosecution provides for a minimum sentence of life in prison without parole. They could face the death penalty because the murder happened during a robbery.
Rios and Contreras appeared in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Friday and were ordered to be held without bail. Cisneros, who remains in the hospital, and the Grishams did not appear.
Such prosecutions are usually heard in state court. But Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva took the case to federal authorities after he said he consulted with the district attorney’s office, which he criticized for not seeking a stiffer sentence in gang-related cases.
“I believe their plan was to prosecute simple murder without any weapon or gang enhancements,” which could lead to prison terms ranging from 25 years to life, Villanueva said at a press conference in Thursday.
Alex Bastian, a spokesman for District Attorney George Gascon, said Friday that Gascon’s office supports the Justice Department in taking the case, but Gascon has not been given a chance to hear it.
To “make money”
The sworn complaint was written by an FBI special agent who questioned the defendants, witnesses, prison informants and law enforcement officials, and reviewed security footage.
The US Department of Justice, which is handling the case, has long been familiar with a multi-generational, mostly Hispanic gang that was founded in the Los Angeles area in the early 1950s.
Rios, Cisneros and Contreras, who, according to the complaint, admitted to being members of the gang, went with Grisham on January 10 to “make money”. Their gang, like others, owe “taxes” to the Mexican mafia, which controls drug trafficking and other operations in California prisons and jails and on the streets.
Rios said he was driving his truck with Grisham, his girlfriend last year, in the front passenger seat, Contreras behind him and Cisneros behind Grisham. Rios said it was Contreras’ idea to grab Arroyos’ chains. Rios said that Contreras handed him the gun. Rios said he took Arroyos’ girlfriend’s cane and searched her, while Cisneros took Arroyos’ $100 wallet.
Ríos said he had fired at least once and that he believed Cisneros had also fired at Arroyos. Arroyos also fired, punching a hole in Rios’ white hoodie and injuring his chest. Contreras admitted to a police informant in his cell that he had passed the gun to someone in a pickup truck, the complaint said.
When Cisneros returned to the pickup truck at 1712 E. 87th Street, Grisham said he said he had a broken leg. Surveillance video later showed Cisneros being pulled from a truck at a different location.
Ten minutes after the shooting, the Sheriff’s Department received a report of the shooting. Deputies found Arroyos wounded and took him to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynnwood, where he was pronounced dead at 9:38 p.m.
The Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help in finding Arroyos’ black double black purse with his ID card inside and two silver chains, one with a sword pendant.
First college graduate in the family
Arroyos always sat on the far left of the second row in the Olympic Division briefing room. There is now a sign attached to the back of an empty chair that lists his name, his first day on the job, December 26, 2018, and his last, January 10. Lieutenant Rex Ingram said Arroyos was special:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
According to Ingram, it was a worthy tribute to an officer of extraordinary modesty and selflessness, who was often the first to come to roll call and always smiled.
Ingram first noticed him while reading one of his reports.
“I knew immediately that his writing ability was far superior to his peers and his bosses,” said Ingram, a 16-year veteran of the security forces. “I was so amazed by the way he wrote that I asked him where he went to school and he said: LAUSD. I thought he was BSing me. I said where did you really go?
Arroyos replied, “With all due respect, sir, I went to Cal Berkeley.”
According to Ingram, Arroyos attended a prestigious university with two goals. Be the first in your family to graduate from college and become an LAPD officer. Ingram asked Arroyos why, with his law degree, he chose the LAPD over law practice or the FBI.
“Sir, I want to protect and serve my community,” Arroyos replied.
Solving car thefts is the core business of the 6-square-mile division of 200,000 people, and Arroyos has worked hard to get thieves off the streets and get cars back to their homes.
“That was his niche. He was very good at it. The drive he had was unmatched by his peers,” Ingram said. “He was selfless and came to work every day without expecting reward or praise.”
For these reasons, Ingram used Arroyos as an example for other officers even before his death.
“He came to work to serve wholeheartedly. This is exactly what we want from our partners,” said Ingram. “The sky was the limit for him.”