A 34-year-old father of four died after being shot during an incident in Cudahy with a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Saturday night. However, the accounts of what happened according to witnesses and the sheriff’s department are very different.
The incident happened around 10:00 p.m. following an early Mother’s Day celebration. Police received a call about a fight involving Rigoberto Arceo, who was also reported to have a gun. Apparently there was a heated argument between Arceo and his brother. He then left with his sister, Maria Arceo, and somebody from the celebration called the police to report that Arceo had fled following the fight, but that he was also armed with a gun.
After police received the call, a deputy on patrol in the area saw a minivan that matched the description given. The deputy pulled the minivan over, two doors down from the home where the celebration was taking place and the incident with his brother had occurred a short time prior. It was at this point that the accounts of what happened vary greatly.
According to the deputy, Arceo got out of the car and walked towards the deputy’s car, with his hands in the air. The deputy told him to stop and not come any closer, but he did not comply. The deputy said that some sort of physical confrontation also occurred and that at some point Arceo reached for the deputy’s gun. It was then that the deputy fired a single shot, hitting Arceo in the chest.
However, witnesses, who include Arceo’s sister, other family members who were at a house near where the minivan was pulled over and the family’s neighbors, said that’s not what happened at all. According to those witnesses, the deputy pulled the minivan over, Arceo got out of the car with his hands up and the deputy just shot him, for no apparent reason.
Maria Arceo , who was in the driver’s seat of the minivan during the incident, said that “he just walked up with his hands in the air and he got shot.” She also confirms that he was of no threat to the officer and also denies that there was any sort of physical altercation between the two.
Maria Arceo told a local ABC affiliate that there were no weapons involved at all, that nobody had a gun (see video). However, following the incident, officers discovered a handgun in the minivan. Maria said that the gun belonged to her, but that her brother did not even know it was in the car and that it was not loaded. It was not reported whether the firearm was registered to Maria or whether she had a valid concealed carry permit, making it legal for her to carry the gun in her car. It is also not known whether the gun was kept by police or returned to her.
Arceo was taken to a local hospital, the same hospital at which he worked as a biotech employee, and he was pronounced dead. The deputy did not receive any injuries and is now being placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated, as is standard protocol with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department when an officer is involved in a fatal shooting.