Officer Fernando Uriel Arroyos always stood out.
From the moment he joined the Los Angeles Police Department, his skill and passion for his work were recognized by his peers and superiors. And despite a long road faced with obstacles, he never lost sight of becoming a police officer in his community.
A funeral service was held at Forest Lawn’s Hall of Liberty Mosaic Deck in Hollywood Hills on Wednesday, Feb. 2, where LAPD officers, city leaders, family and friends of Arroyos gathered to lay him to rest. Arroyos, 27, was a third-year officer serving at the Olympic patrol division, near the Los Angeles neighborhood where he was raised.
When Lt. Rex Ingram of the Olympic division first met Arroyos, he knew he “was in the presence of someone who was probably smarter than all of his peers, supervisors and watch commanders combined.”
Over many conversations, Ingram said he learned of Arroyos’ humble beginnings.
He attended Crenshaw High School before transferring to UC Berkeley, where he graduated with honors in legal studies with the intention of returning to serve his community. After graduating, he applied with the LAPD but was denied because he lacked work experience.
“(Arroyos) said the LAPD wanted to see some type of work experience where he worked with the public,” said Ray Bernardo, a family friend. Arroyos began working the overnight shift at a McDonald’s in his neighborhood and as a maintenance manager in his apartment complex to support his family.
“Volunteering (his) time to make (his) home and (his) neighbors’ living conditions better all while never losing sight of (his) dreams to wear our badge,” Ingram said.
His time with the Los Angeles Police Department began in 2018, when he joined the Police Academy recruit training program. He was a standout recruit who excelled in all areas of training, especially in running, according to his peers. After serving in a few divisions, where he quickly worked up the ranks, he chose to be assigned to the Olympic patrol division.
When he submitted his first crime report at the Olympic division, Ingram said it was like none he had seen.
“It was anything but typical,” Ingram said. “It contained proper grammar, the correct use of pronouns, adjectives, and (Arroyos) even had the right UCR code.”
“It was the best written crime report I’d seen in a long time.”
Through reviewing citizen and department commendations, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said of Arroyos that he was always willing to go the extra mile, be it “returning a stolen bike to its victim or extending his watch so other could go home.”
“Fernando Arroyos, in his short 27 years, showed us all that there is still right and good amongst us,” Moore said.
On Jan. 10, Arroyos, who was off-duty at the time, was shopping for a home with his girlfriend in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone neighborhood of LA when he was gunned down during a robbery.
All three men involved in the robbery were known members of the Florentina 13 gang, a multi-generational Los Angeles gang that has previously been the subject of federal prosecution, including two other large racketeering cases.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against the three alleged gang members, Luis Alfredo De La Rosa “Lil J” Rios, Ernesto “Gonzo” Cisneros, Jesse “Skinny Jack” Contreras; and Haylee Marie Grisham, Rios’ girlfriend, for the crime on Jan. 27. The three men and the 18-year-old girlfriend of one defendant were charged with violating a federal racketeering statute.
Rios and Contreras are set to be arraigned on Feb. 3, Grisham on Feb. 7, and Cisneros on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles federal court.
Arroyos is survived by his mother, father, girlfriend, grandfather and stepfather.
“We’ve lost an angel in this city of angels,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “We’ve lost somebody whose chapter is now written here — and what a chapter it was.”
“It doesn’t matter your zip code, it doesn’t matter where your parents come from, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in your pocket,” he added. “If you seek to serve, you can step up and be as famous as anybody who is on that Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
City News Service contributed to this report.