Two Suspects in Fatal Shooting of Off-Duty LAPD Officer Appear in Court – Los Angeles

Two members of a reputed gang were charged with federal racketeering for the shooting death of a 27 year-old officer from Los Angeles Police Department. They were placed in jail without bond and ordered to appear before federal courts Friday.

Jesse “Skinny Jack”Contreras, 34; and Luis Alfredo “Lil J”De La Rosa Rios (29), were to be arraigned February 3, with a tentative Jan. 28 date for a preliminary hearing. Ernesto, a suspected gang member, is another defendant in this case. “Gonzo”Cisneros, 22 years old, and Rios’ 18year-old girlfriend HayleeMarie Grisham — were not present in court Friday.

Two suspect gang members appeared before federal court to face charges in relation to the death of an LAPD officer. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from NBC4 News Friday, January 14, 2022.

Grisham will make an appearance Tuesday. However, Cisneros has not yet been scheduled for an appearance. He is believed to be wounded in an altercation of gunfire that occurred in the Monday night confrontation which resulted in Officer Fernando Arroyos’ death.

The three gang members attempted to rob Arroyos while he was house hunting with his girlfriend in Florence-Firestone.

Late Thursday, all four defendants were arrested for violent crime in aid to racketeering. This was done to maintain and increase the Florencia 13 gang’s position. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office the charge could result in the death penalty or a minimum sentence of one year in federal prison. Parole is not possible because the fatal shooting took place during a robbery.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva claimed Thursday night that he instructed detectives to refer the case to U.S. Attorney’s Office due to his opposition to District Attorney George Gascon’s decision no longer to pursue sentencing improvements in gang cases.

These enhancements in a case of murder can make the difference between life imprisonment with the possibility to parole and being released. 

Villanueva pleaded guilty to murder “with no gun enhancements, no gang enhancements, nothing … really did not cover the depravity of this crime. It should be noted that the California penal code does cover all these things. The tools are there but we need to have someone who’s willing to use them.”

Michel Moore, chief of LAPD, said that he was “grateful for the federal involvement in this case. It is appropriate. I am thankful for the U.S. Attorney stepping in and bringing the full weight of the government against this gang, against these individuals.”

The Los Angeles Police Protective League released Friday’s statement praising the sheriff’s decision for federal prosecution and calling the U.S. attorney’s actions”a complete repudiation of the dangerous policies and heartless treatment of crime victims exhibited by”District attorney 

Craig Lally, president and CEO of the LAPPL stated that Gascon is witnessing a 15-year high number of homicides in Los Angeles and a 54% increase in shootings in Los Angeles since 2019. “should be prosecuting these murderers to the fullest extent of the law. (He) simply doesn’t have the courage or conviction to hold soulless murdering thugs accountable.”

Friday’s response from the District Attorney’s Office was that it supported federal handling of this case and would be in contact with all parties.

“It was indicated to us that the case was referred to the federal authorities, who filed charges,” according to the DA’s Office. “As such, we did not have an opportunity to review the case.”

The shooting took place Monday night at 9:15 p.m., in the 8700 block Beach Street, near Firestone Boulevard. 

A sworn affidavit by an FBI agent states that Rios confessed to the killing in an interview with sheriff’s detectives. He said that he was driving around looking for the victims. “make money”You can rob someone.

Rios and Cisneros were accused of getting out of a black pickup to confront Arroyos, who is a veteran three-years old of the LAPD and his girlfriend, as they searched for a place to live in the area.

According to sheriff’s Capt., the two pointed guns at the victims, and took property, including a wallet, two silver chains, and Arroyos’ neck. Joe Mendoza

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

Arroyos suffered a single gunshot wound and ran away from the scene. He then collapsed in an alley while the two suspects fled. 

Mendoza stated that responding sheriff’s deputy arrived on the scene and discovered bystanders giving CPR to Arroyos. Arroyos was taken by the deputies to a hospital.   

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.

Later, investigators determined that the injured man was Cisneros who was shot during an exchange with Arroyos. Contreras was also found hiding in his garage in the Junction Street 5900 block. 

Mendoza indicated that Contreras had retrieved a second handgun from his residence. It will be tested for evidence of its use in the shooting. 

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

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