Three arrested in connection to killing of off-duty LAPD officer Juan Diaz

Three people were arrested on Friday morning in connection to the killing of off-duty Los Angeles Police Department Officer Juan Diaz.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the arrests during a press conference alongside LAPD Assistant Chief Director Beatrice Girmala.

The three suspects have been identified as 23-year-old Francisco Talamantes, 20-year-old Cristian Facundo, and 18-year-old  Ashlynn Smith. All three are residents of Temecula and are being held with no bail. 

They were arrested following a series of raids at multiple locations Friday morning. The arrests were made in Riverside, Murrieta and Temecula, according to Mayor Garcetti.

“These are the folks we believe are responsible for that senseless murder of Juan Diaz,” Girmala said.


The early morning actions were taken by members of the LAPD's SWAT team and Metropolitan Division, along with personnel from various other agencies including the Murrieta Police Department.

Warrants were served in Riverside and Los Angeles counties, including in the Glassell Park and Mt. Washington areas.

Girmala told reporters that they are still in the early stages of the investigation. “Everything here is very fresh,” she said. “Interviews and such have not taken place.”

Officer Diaz was gunned down early last Saturday morning, after he confronted a group of men who were vandalizing the area. The off-duty officer was with his girlfriend and others at a taco stand when he asked the group to stop, that's when the group claimed their gang involvement, officials said. Officer Diaz and his friends then drove off in their pick-up truck and according to LAPD the men shot at them, killing Diaz and injuring one of his girlfriend's brothers.

“This morning's operations represent significant steps on the road to for justice for Juan Diaz, the others who were with him that night, and his entire family,” Girmala said.

Following the arrests, the Los Angeles Police Protective League union issued this statement:

"We are grateful that the cowards and thugs accused of the cold-blooded murder of Officer Juan Diaz are in custody. We appreciate the relentless effort our detectives and officers put in to finding these killers. We urge District Attorney Jackie Lacey to prosecute these cop killers to the fullest extent of the law, including seeking the death penalty. We continue to pray for and support Officer Diaz's family during this time of grief."

CNS contributed to this report.