Off-Duty Officer Shoots Suspect after Attack

June 10, 2008

Los Angeles: An off-duty officer shot and wounded a man after he and a friend were attacked by five gang members on June 8, 2008, in Compton.

The attack happened just before 9:45 p.m. in the 1700 block of Culver Avenue, when five gang members approached Officer Vicente Lopez and his friend walking to a carnival at The Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ Catholic Church. The suspects asked Lopez what gang he was from, and he told them he was not a gang member. The suspects aggressively began harassing and threatening the officer and his companion.

To avoid any further confrontation, Lopez lifted up his shirt and exposed his badge and gun and identified himself as a police officer. The gang charged Lopez and his friend and a fight erupted. During the fight, one of the suspects, attempted to wrest the officer’s handgun. He was able to gain control of his weapon, fire a round and hit the suspect. After being struck, the suspect ran from the scene.

Lopez detained a second suspect and waited for the arrival of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs to take him into custody. During a follow-up, investigators received reports of a victim being treated for a gunshot wound to his torso at Saint Francis Hospital. The victim turned out to be the suspect the officer shot. He has been identified as 21-year-old Pablo Arroyo, who was subsequently arrested and charged with an assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.

Lopez suffered a cut to the top of his head and a fracture on his face. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released. He is assigned to the Pacific Division and has been with the Department for one year and 11 months.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will handle the criminal investigation and the Los Angeles Police Department Force Investigation will investigate the officer involved shooting.