LOS ANGELES, CA — Federal prosecutors on Thursday filed charges against four suspects in the fatal shooting of an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer. When submitting the case to the Department of Justice, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Investigators evaded the prosecutor in their pursuit of capital charges that could lead to the death penalty for the alleged killers of Agent Fernando Arroyos.
In a late-night press conference Thursday with LAPD chief Michel Moore and Sheriff Alex Villanueva, investigators outlined the case against four alleged gang members accused of killing Arroyos in an armed robbery Monday in the Firestone-Florence area.
Prosecutors say the shooting was part of a series of violent robberies committed by the suspects. They face federal charges of racketeering, along with a series of punitive improvements they would not have faced if the case were prosecuted by Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon’s office, Villanueva said. It can mean the difference between a life sentence with the possibility of parole and the death penalty.
The charges of violent crime for racketeering carry a possible death penalty and a minimum sentence of life in federal prison without the possibility of parole because the fatal shooting occurred during a robbery, US Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said.
Moore asked the public for help recovering a wallet and two silver chains stolen during the Arroyos robbery.
“That the level of courtesy is so low right now that a simple robbery would escalate into a murder for two necklaces and a wallet is unfathomable,” Moore said.
But those two chains “are worth the world to this family,” Moore said of Arroyos’ lovers.
Within a short span of Arroyos’ murder, a person was killed for a counterfeit $20 bill at a Taco Bell and a Good Samaritan was shot and killed for trying to stop a teen from hitting a girl, Moore said. Arrests were made in all three cases, but that doesn’t take away from the futility of the killings, he added.
“We need to take a break and listen to ourselves about what’s going on around us and work to get these guns off the streets and stop this violence,” Moore said.
Arroyos’ alleged killers are expected to appear in a U.S. court in downtown Los Angeles for the first time Friday afternoon.
Charged with violent crime for extortion to increase and maintain position within the Florencia 13 gang were:
— Luis Alfredo De La Rosa Rios, 29, an F13 member aka “Lil J”;
— Ernesto Cisneros, 22, an F13 member aka “Gonzo”;
— Jesse Contreras, 34, an F13 member who claimed the nickname “Skinny Jack” but is also known as “Flaco”; and
— Haylee Marie Grisham, 18, Rios’ girlfriend.
The shooting happened at 9:15 p.m. Monday at the 8700 block of Beach Street, near Firestone Boulevard, in the unincorporated Firestone-Florence area, authorities said.
According to the complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Seamus Kane, Rios admitted in an interview with the sheriff’s detectives that he was involved in the murder. person of property or money.
The complaint alleges that Rios and Cisneros got out of a black pickup truck and confronted Arroyos, a three-year veteran of the LAPD, and his girlfriend while looking for a home to buy in the area.
The two allegedly pointed weapons at the victims and removed property from both, including the chains from Arroyos’ neck.
“At one point after Cisneros removed (Arroyos’) chains, (Arroyos) and the two suspects exchanged shots,” the indictment said.
Arroyos suffered a single gunshot wound, ran out of the area and collapsed in an alley as the two suspects fled the crime scene.
The suspects were taken into custody Wednesday by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Investigators. They are expected to be transferred to federal custody Friday morning.
City News Service and Patch Staffer Paige Austin contributed to this report.