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Home / U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkinson

Gang members face federal charges for fatal shooting of LAPD officer

Federal prosecutors Thursday evening filed a criminal complaint charging three gang members and one gang associate for the fatal shooting of an off-duty Los Angeles Police Department officer.

The three men and the 18-year-old girlfriend of one defendant were charged with violating a federal racketeering statute for their roles in the robbery and fatal shooting of Los Angeles Police Department Officer Fernando Arroyos Monday night, according to U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison.

The charge of violent crime in aid of racketeering carries a potential death penalty and a minimum sentence of life in federal prison without the possibility of parole because the fatal shooting occurred during a robbery, Wilkison said.

The defendants are expected to make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles Friday afternoon.

Charged with violent crime in aid of racketeering to increase and maintain position within the Florencia 13 gang were:

— Luis Alfredo De La Rosa Rios, 29, an F13 member also known as “Lil J”;

— Ernesto Cisneros, 22, an F13 member also known as “Gonzo”;

— Jesse Contreras, 34, an F13 member who claimed a moniker of “Skinny Jack,” but who also may be known as “Flaco”; and

— Haylee Marie Grisham, 18, Rios’ girlfriend.

Several sources told the Los Angeles Times Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva directed detectives to take the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office because of his opposition to District Attorney George Gascon’s decision to no longer pursue sentencing enhancements in gang cases.

Those enhancements in a murder case can mean the difference between a life term with the possibility of parole and never being released from prison.

The shooting occurred about 9:15 p.m. Monday in 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 sheriff’s detectives his involvement in the killing, saying he and the other defendants were driving around looking to “make money,” which he further explained meant to rob a person of property or money.

The complaint alleges that Rios and Cisneros exited a black pickup truck and confronted Arroyos, a three-year veteran of the LAPD, and his girlfriend as they were searching for a home to purchase in the area.

The two allegedly pointed guns at the victims and removed property from both, including a wallet and two silver chains from Arroyos’ neck, said sheriff’s Capt. Joe Mendoza

“At some point after Cisneros removed (Arroyos’) chains, (Arroyos) and the two suspects exchanged gunfire,” according to the complaint.

Arroyos sustained a single gunshot wound, ran from the area and collapsed in an alley as the two suspects fled the scene in the truck.

Responding sheriff’s deputies arrived at the scene and found bystanders performing CPR on Arroyos,  Mendoza said. The deputies loaded Arroyos into a patrol car and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Detectives retrieved a loaded handgun from the scene belonging to one of the suspects, and the sheriff’s department received a report about 9:25 p.m. Monday of a man suffering a gunshot wound in the area of Junction Street and East 60th Street about a mile-and-a-half from the site of the shooting, Mendoza said.

Investigators later determined the wounded man was Cisneros and he had sustained the gunshot during the shootout with Arroyos. Contreras was also found in the area hiding inside the garage of his residence in the 5900 block of Junction Street.

A second handgun was retrieved from Contreras’ residence and will be tested to determine if it was used in the shooting, Mendoza said.

Rios and Graham were later found and taken into custody at their residence.

The defendants are expected to be transferred to federal custody Friday morning.

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