Los Angeles, CA – Four people have been arrested in connection with the murder of off-duty Los Angeles Police Officer Fernando Arroyos, the sheriff’s office confirmed Wednesday.
Officer Arroyos, 27, was fatally shot during an armed robbery as he was house-hunting with his girlfriend on Jan. 10.
Two women and three men were detained by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) detectives for questioning in connection with Officer Arroyos’ death, LASD Homicide Bureau Captain Joe Mendoza revealed Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Capt. Mendoza said investigators were also looking into a possible connection with the shooting of another victim found wounded in the same neighborhood where the off-duty officer was killed.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced during his weekly livestreamed information briefing on Wednesday that four suspects have been arrested in connection with Officer Arroyos’ murder, KABC reported.
Sheriff Villanueva did not discuss further details of the case, nor did he reveal the suspects’ identities or the charges they face.
Officer Arroyos was off-duty Jan. 10 after a stretch of days on patrol, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Michel Moore previously told the Los Angeles Times.
He joined up with his girlfriend in the Walnut Park area that evening because the two of them were “on a hunt for a house, a place to live, a place to buy and invest in the city and in the future of this region,” Chief Moore said.
The fatal attack occurred near the intersection of Beach Street and 87th Street at approximately 9:16 p.m., KABC reported.
The couple had just gotten out of their vehicle and was heading across the street to look at a residence when three suspects in a black pickup approached them, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“The officer yelled for his girlfriend to leave to run to go back to the car,” Chief Moore said.
Investigators said the suspects got out of the truck just before an argument erupted, KABC reported.
Officer Arroyos was shot during an ensuing exchange of gunfire with the suspects, police said.
Chief Moore said one of the gunmen dropped a firearm before fleeing the scene.
“We do have our officer’s gun, and we have an additional weapon that we believe was responsible for this assault,” he confirmed, according to the Los Angeles Times.
LASD deputies responded to the scene and loaded Officer Arroyos into a patrol car, KABC reported.
They rushed him to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, but he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he spoke with Officer Arroyos’ mother and stepfather at the hospital shortly after the attack, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Garcetti said the three-year LAPD veteran “died a hero trying to defend himself and his girlfriend.”
“My heart is broken. Our city’s heart is broken. And certainly, our LAPD family’s hearts all grieve,” the mayor told the Los Angeles Times. “Tonight, Los Angeles grieves.”
Chief Moore said Officer Arroyos was an only child, and that he had a promising, bright future “that was taken away viciously over a street robbery,” KABC reported.
He was assigned to the LAPD’s Olympic Division at the time of his murder, KTTV reported.
LAPD Lieutenant Rex Ingram, Officer Arroyos’ supervisor, said the slain officer’s two goals in life were to be the first in his family to graduate from college and to serve with the LAPD, according to the Los Angeles Times.
He graduated from UC Berkeley with honors, KABC reported.
“He could have gone to law school or FBI like his peers with that education, but he wanted to serve his community and give back,” Lt. Ingram said.
He said he will remember Officer Arroyos as a “phenomenal young man, extremely bright, intelligent, humble, modest, and just a smile that would last for days,” KABC reported.
A police procession escorted Officer Arroyos’ body from the hospital to the coroner’s office early Tuesday morning, KTTV reported.
In addition to his girlfriend, Officer Arroyos also leaves behind his mother, father, and his stepfather, KABC reported.
“I want to remember my son as a hero, for his work,” a tearful Claudia Karin told KABC in Spanish. “As a son, he was the best. As a grandson, he was the best. And, as I said, I wish all the best for my son.”
His stepfather, Jose Reyes, said he loved Officer Arroyos as if he were his own child.
“He was very educated, very good with me,” Reyes told the news outlet in Spanish. “We never had any arguments, were always in communication with one another.”
Sheriff Villanueva said the investigation into the fatal shooting remains ongoing and that more details will be released as soon as possible.