An off-duty officer from the Los Angeles Police Department was shopping homes with his girlfriend on Monday when he was shot by three men near South L.A., the police chief said.
Chief Michelle Moore said detectives believed the men were trying to rob Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27. He had been in the Army for three years and was recently serving out of the Olympic Division.
“He was his mother’s only child,” Moore said during a police commission meeting on Tuesday. “He had a promising future in this department.”
The shooting in the 8700 block of Beach Street, which is located in an unincorporated area of LA County west of the South Gate, took place at around 9:15 p.m., when Arroyos and his girlfriend were crossing the street to get into their car.
Moore said three men in a black pick-up truck went to Arroyos and passed out. One of them took out the pistol.
At that point, Arroyos also pulled out his arm and yelled at his girlfriend to drive him to his car. There was a brief exchange of gunfire between Arroyos and the other man, in which the officer was killed and fell to the ground.
Moore said the three men got back in their car and fled.
Arroyos’ girlfriend tried to approach him and then put him back in her car. Representatives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrived and took Arroyos to a nearby hospital, where he died.
On Monday night, public representatives surrounded the area in search of suspects. Moore said he found the hands of the shooters at the scene.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who appeared at the back-to-school event Tuesday morning, said Arroyos was the son of immigrants. The mayor said the officer and his girlfriend were looking for their first home.
“My heart is broken,” Garcetti said. “Our town’s heart is broken, and of course the hearts of our LAPD family are all sad…”
“And because this happened outside the City of Los Angeles, the Sheriff’s Department is leading all of the investigations, with the very strong support of our robbery-murder officers,” Meyer said.
“And so I want to send my love again to the family, to the LAPD family,” he said. “This man died a hero trying to defend himself and his girlfriend.”
Moore said the LAPD still needed the community’s help in identifying Arroyos’ killers.
“We have full confidence and confidence that we will identify the person or persons responsible for this horrific act and this grave loss,” he said.
Shortly before dawn Tuesday, Arroyos’ body was carried in a procession of vehicles from St. Francis Medical Center in Linwood to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Facility near the City of Los Angeles.
“Tonight, we mourn the loss of (and) one of our officers killed in an armed robbery attempt,” according to a tweet from the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing LAPD officers. “The officer was off-duty. In this time of pain and sorrow, we pray for the officer’s family and his fellow officers. This is an active investigation.”
According to Fox 11, an injured man was found in a vehicle in the area after the officer fired. It is not clear whether the man injured on Tuesday was one of the suspects.