The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office denied on Friday that it had been asked to consider bringing criminal charges for the robbery and murder of off-duty LAPD officer Fernando Arroyos, who was shot during of a shooting with suspected gang members in South Los Angeles on Monday. piece.
The district attorney’s office said in an email that it was never consulted on possible criminal charges until the LA County Sheriff’s Department, which investigated the murder, presented its evidence to the office. of the US Attorney, who announced Thursday that the four people arrested in the case will face federal justice. racketeering allegations that could lead to death sentences.
“We were told that the case had been referred to the federal authorities, who have filed a complaint. As such, we have not had the opportunity to review the case,” said Alex Bastian, special adviser to District Attorney George Gascón.
Several law enforcement sources disputed the DA’s account, telling NBC4’s IT team that while there may not have been a formal presentation of evidence, there have been many discussions. earlier this week between investigators and DA office staff on the facts of the case and the potential charges involved. .
“Well, we’ve definitely had conversations with the local prosecutor. And their response hasn’t been satisfactory to the seriousness of the situation,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters during an interview. a press conference on Thursday evening.
Fernando Arroyos, 27, a three-year LAPD veteran, was shot dead around 9:15 p.m. Monday in an apparent gunfight with up to three armed robbery suspects in the unincorporated neighborhood of Firestone-Florence . Robert Kovacik reports for NBC4 News on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
Villanueva said his detectives chose to take the case to federal prosecutors because the DA would refuse to file certain enhancements under California law that would increase the severity of the sentence for anyone convicted of the murder.
The LA County District Attorney’s Office has a unit dedicated to investigating and prosecuting attacks on law enforcement called “CAPOS” or Crimes Against Police Officers.
The unit dispatched two of its prosecutors to the scene of Arroyos’ murder, and members of the unit participated in discussions Tuesday and Wednesday about gathering the evidence needed to file criminal charges against the state, officials said. the sources told NBCLA.
Upon taking office a year ago, Gascón instituted a variety of reforms aimed at reducing many criminal penalties, including blanket orders barring prosecutors from filing most sentence enhancements, which can amplify the length of prison when crimes involve gangs, guns, repeat offenders or special categories of victims.
“I believe their plan was just to pursue simple murder with no gun upgrades, no gang upgrades, nothing. And that didn’t really cover up the depravity of that crime,” Villanueva said.
Arroyos died at St. Francis Medical Center after he was shot Monday night in the 1700 block of E. 87th Street while looking for a house to sell with his girlfriend.
The federal criminal complaint filed Thursday accused three men and a woman of participating in the robbery and murder of Arroyos as part of “Florencia 13”, a multi-generational street gang that was previously the target of federal investigations into the organized crime.