CERRITOS (CBSLA) – Authorities are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects who last summer shot and killed a 37-year-old father while he was serving the homeless in the Cerritos area.
Gustavo Arteaga was shot to death on July 28, 2017, in the San Gabriel riverbed near Artesia Boulevard, near where he lived.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Arteaga, described as a “compassionate neighbor,” would often provide help to the homeless community in that area by preparing food and offering them showers.
Arteaga was bringing burritos to the homeless on the day he was shot. According to authorities, he got in an argument with the three suspects, one of whom pulled out a gun and shot Arteaga and a homeless man who lived in the encampment. Arteaga was struck multiple times by the gunfire, the sheriff’s department said, and he died. The other victim survived.
“And they decided to solve that dispute by pulling out a gun and shooting at Gustavo,” sheriff’s Lt. John Corina told reporters at a news conference Thursday. “Well, they end up shooting Gustavo, and hitting him, and also hitting another individual who was living down there in the homeless encampment.”
Three suspects were seen running from the scene southbound on Palo Verde Road immediately after the killing.
The suspects would often go down to the riverbed and take advantage of the homeless encampment, even selling the transients drugs, the sheriff’s department said. The three are believed to live in the Bellflower or Paramount neighborhoods. Investigators suspect the homeless population know who the men’s identities, but are afraid to speak out.
Arteaga left behind a wife and four children.
“Every day they cry for their dad, I hear them talking, and it breaks my heart when I see my kids talking about their dad and there’s nothing I can do,” Arteaga’s widow, Priscilla Arteaga, said at the briefing.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 323-890-5500.