Officer Fernando Arroyos, 27, was fatally shot at about 9:15 p.m. Monday in an unincorporated area of south Los Angeles County.
Authorities have said Arroyos was shopping for a house with his girlfriend when a pickup truck approached, several suspects got out, there was an argument and gunfire was exchanged between the assailants and the officer. Arroyos was shot once; his girlfriend was not hurt.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles announced the charges on Thursday night ahead of a press conference scheduled by the Los Angeles County sheriff. The sheriff’s department was investigating the case, and took the suspects into custody on Wednesday, because the crime occurred in an unincorporated area of the county.
The defendants are charged with violent crime in aid of racketeering; they are allegedly connected to the Florencia 13 (F13) gang. They could face the death penalty, or the minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, because Arroyos was killed during the robbery, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The suspects are Luis Alfredo De La Rosa Rios, 29, known as “Lil J”; Ernesto Cisneros, 22, known as “Gonzo” and Jesse Contreras, 34, known as “Skinny Jack” and “Flaco.” Rios’ girlfriend, 18-year-old Haylee Marie Grisham, is considered an associate of the gang.
They are expected to make their first appearances in federal court on Friday afternoon. It was not immediately clear Thursday night whether they had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.
Rios and Cisneros allegedly confronted the couple and pointed guns at them, authorities said. They allegedly stole items from both, and removed chains from Arroyos’ neck.
At some point, a shootout began and Arroyos was struck once. He ran toward an alley and collapsed as Rios and Cisneros fled.
Surveillance video shows the pickup truck pulling up at a home near the shooting and Contreras can be seen getting out of the truck, authorities said. He is then seen helping an apparently injured Cisneros out of the truck, according to court documents.
All four suspects were in the truck, prosecutors say. The whole group was allegedly at the scene of the robbery and shooting.
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