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Criminal Justice

Federal Prosecutors Brings Charges Against 4 Suspects In Off-Duty LAPD Officer’s Death

An LAPD car with its emblem on the side of the driver's door with the phrase to protect and to serve.
An LAPD patrol car.
(David McNew
Getty Images North America)
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Federal prosecutors have charged four people in connection with the robbery and killing of an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer.

The complaint alleges 27-year-old Fernando Arroyos was killed “in aid of racketeering… to increase and maintain position” in the Florencia 13 gang. Three of the suspects are identified as members; the fourth, as an associate of the gang.

LAPD Chief Michael Moore thanked federal officials for getting involved.

“I am thankful for the U.S. Attorney, stepping in and bringing the full weight of the government against this gang, against these individuals who plotted and went out and engaged in this type of reckless and senseless violence,” Moore said.

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An affidavit says Arroyos and his girlfriend were house-hunting earlier this week in the South L.A. area when a group of people drove up in a pickup truck. Two people got out and robbed the couple at gunpoint. There was an exchange of gunfire with the officer, who was shot and later died of his injuries.

If convicted as charged, all four suspects could end up facing the death penalty.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department is handling the investigation of Monday's attack. Sheriff Alex Villanueva explained why his department bypassed District Attorney George Gascón’s office.

“I believe their plan was just prosecute a simple murder with no gun enhancements, no gang enhancements, nothing. And that did not really cover the depravity of this crime,” Villanueva said. “So we definitely want to thank our federal partners for stepping up and giving us a different array.”

Gascón announced that he would stop using sentencing enhancements when he took office in 2020. Data shows charges filed with gun and gang enhancements have plummeted during his term. Gascón’s office says in a statement that county prosecutors did not have a chance to review the case but do support federal authorities taking it on.

“We support the federal authorities taking the case and will be in communication with all the parties involved. It was indicated to us that the case was referred to the federal authorities, who filed charges. As such, we did not have an opportunity to review the case,” said Alex Bastian, special advisor to Gascón.

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