Some 200 hundred friends, family and community members gathered in Cudahy Friday evening to mourn the killing of 34-year-old Rigoberto Arceo, who was fatally shot by Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputies last Saturday.
Rows of candles and flower arrangements adorned the 4105 block of Walnut St, just west of Otis Ave, where a memorial marks the spot where the 34-year-old, father of two, was fatally shot. Arceo’s distraught family is outraged by misleading statements given by the Sheriff’s department in regards to the shooting.
According to Sergeant Rich Pena of the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s, Arceo and his sister, Maria, were pulled over for matching a vehicle description linked to a “confrontation” during a party just a few blocks away on Elizabeth St. Sgt. Pena claims that Rigoberto then exited the vehicle while ignoring deputies’ commands to stop and put his hands up. Pena states that Arceo and a deputy then got into a “physical altercation” and that Arceo “started trying to get the deputy’s duty weapon,” at which point the deputy retained his gun and fired one shot, hitting Arceo “in the upper torso.”
Arceo’s sister Maria, however, explains otherwise.
“He got out with his hands in the air,” described Maria Arceo, who was driving the vehicle Rigoberto was traveling in the night he was killed, “He didn’t do anything or wasn’t doing anything he wasn’t supposed to.”
During the vigil last Friday, friends and community made a strong attendance to support the Arceo family. Photographs of Arceo decorated a home’s fence in front of his memorial as well as various posters with messages of support for “Rigo.” One sign bears the writing of Arceo’s son, Nathan, with the message, “We want justice for my daddy.”
Arceo’s brother, Alfredo, upheld that his brother had his hands up when he exited the vehicle and confirmed that Rigoberto was shot once through the heart, and was deceased upon arrival to the hospital.
There was also a strong show of support from families of other police killing victims form neighboring cities that night. Michael Lee Nida II’s family from Downey, Javier Arrazola’s family from Reseda, and Genevieve Huizar, mother of Manuel Diaz from Anaheim. These families, who have also fought and lived through losing a loved one at the hands of police, joined to lend their support to the Arceo family.
Arceo leaves behind two children and his fiancée.
Arceo’s death is one of numerous “law enforcement” killings in the Southern California region in the last two weeks.
Just a few days ago in Paramount, Sheriff Deputies killed a 35-year-old man in a similar circumstance as Arceo’s. Just as in Arceo’s shooting, officials claim the unarmed man and a deputy “struggled for control” of the deputy’s gun, which then resulted in the deputy-involved shooting. Identification of the man has not been released.
Then just over a week ago on the night of May 8th, seven Kern County Sheriff deputies beat 33-year-old, David Sal Silva, to death in front of the Kern Medical Center on the corner of Flower St and Palm Dr in East Bakersfield, California. Witnesses recounted seeing Silva plea for help as deputies continuously beat Silva until his body lay lifeless on the street. Silva’s slaying caught the mainstream media’s attention when multiple witnesses reported that police had confiscated their phones containing footage of the killing.
Also last Friday, 35-year-old Tony Nim was shot and killed by three officers in the Alhambra police station lobby where police claim they attempted to speak to Nim in different languages without response. Officials claim that Nim then pulled out a “large knife” from his backpack, prompting the officers to open fire on Nim. Nim was pronounced dead on scene.