Tragedy in Downey: Investigation Underway After Police Fatally Shoot Resident

Alberto Nicolas Arenas

On a quiet Saturday evening in Downey, California, a tragic event unfolded that ended in the death of 29-year-old Alberto Arenas. Officers from the Downey Police Department responded to a disturbance call around 6:15 p.m. at a residence on Stewart and Gray Road, an area just east of the Long Beach (710) Freeway. The disturbance involved Arenas, who was reportedly setting off fireworks in his backyard and had gotten into a heated argument with a neighbor.

Upon their arrival, police officers attempted to deescalate the situation, but the confrontation took a dangerous turn. According to police reports, Arenas allegedly pointed what appeared to be a rifle at the officers, prompting them to open fire. It was later discovered that the weapon was an airsoft-style rifle, not a real firearm. The California Department of Justice, mandated to investigate all fatal police shootings involving unarmed civilians, has taken over the investigation to determine the precise sequence of events and the justification for the use of lethal force.

Alberto Arenas’ father, Alberto Sr., was not home at the time of the incident but had been in contact with the police. He had called the authorities multiple times, informing them about his son’s mental health struggles, which included psychosis and schizophrenia, and pleaded with them to wait until he arrived at the scene. Despite his efforts, the situation escalated before he could reach home.

In a statement, Alberto Sr. described his son as a good person and a loving father, despite his battles with alcohol and mental health issues. He expressed his belief that if the officers had heeded his warnings and delayed their approach, the tragic outcome could have been avoided. The family is now left grappling with their loss, questioning the actions taken by the police that night.

Witnesses corroborated that the altercation began over fireworks, with tensions rising between Arenas and a neighbor. As the situation intensified, the responding officers found themselves in a critical confrontation. The police department stated that no officers were injured during the incident, and there were no reports of other injuries.

This incident has sparked a broader discussion on the handling of situations involving individuals with mental health issues and the protocols followed by law enforcement in such scenarios. The community is awaiting the findings of the Department of Justice’s investigation to shed light on the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting of Alberto Arenas.

This tragic event underscores the ongoing challenges faced by law enforcement and communities in addressing mental health crises and the use of force, highlighting the need for continued dialogue and reform in these critical areas​.

If you have been involved in an incident and need help, contact our law offices today at (310) 289-7126. Compass Law Group is here to help you fight for justice, no matter what your situation looks like. Call today.

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