Sheriff: Homicide suspect shot dead by Polk County SWAT deputies

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says a homicide suspect was shot dead during a confrontation with law enforcement overnight.

Rudy Arenas, 40, was shot and killed after SWAT deputies opened fire at a home on Wood Lane in Poinciana, according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

Arenas was the suspect in a shooting that occurred on Finch Lane at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday night.

“I heard gunshots and I heard one gunshot and I was right by the window and I looked out the window and I heard 1,2,3 right after that and I heard somebody screaming,” said Marsela Sanchez who lives in a home near where the shooting took place.

“This is a really quiet community. We never had any action here and all of a sudden, this,” said Sanchez.

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Judd said that before the shooting, Arenas called the victim, Orlando Rivera, 40, and made him and his wife, Brenda come out to the street to watch him count some money.

Judd said the couple had to feed their kids and wanted to go back inside. This angered Arenas, who pulled out a handgun and fired four rounds, killing Rivera.

“Orlando says hey I got food in the car for the kids. I don’t have time for this. To which Rudy said you don’t have time to watch me count my money and he immediately pulled a gun and started shooting,” said Judd.

Arenas also shot Brenda seven times, Judd said. Investigators suspect the gun was stolen from an acquaintance.

First responders arrived and attempted life-saving measures on Rivera to no avail. Brenda Rivera was taken to a local hospital, where she is listed in stable condition.

Judd said Arenas fled the scene in his daughter’s vehicle, then called his daughter who later contacted the Osceola Sheriff’s Office.

A SWAT team was requested after he ran into a home on Wood Lane and barricaded himself inside the bathroom.

“Rudy is talking out of his head. He says he’s on drugs and talks about fentanyl and others have told us he was on a binge,” Judd recalled.

“He was yelling, you could hear him yelling because at times it was real calm and then you could hear F this, F this, F you, she shouldn’t have done this,” says Beaumont Carroll who lives just across the street.

He watched as the Polk County SWAT team made entry into the home.

“They were in front of the one window here and they were like in a half-circle and there was like maybe 4 or 5 and I heard some glass shattering and then after that I heard a pop, pop, pop, pop,” said Carroll.

Deputies broke a window and tried to use tear gas to get him out of the home, but Arenas wouldn’t cooperate.

“We negotiate through the night with Rudy,” Judd recalled. “He points a gun to his head. He talks about killing himself. He points the gun and says, ‘If you come here I will kill you.'”

Judd said Arenas left the bathroom with a gun and his hand inside of a pocket. He was shot three times with bean bags and knocked to the ground.

Judd said Arenas resurfaced in the living room and started pointing his gun at deputies.

“That was his last bad choice,” Judd said. “Three of our team members shot him a lot and he is deceased.”

Judd said Arenas has 18 previous arrests on charges including drug possession, the delivery of drugs and domestic violence, most of which were in Rhode Island.

He said the victim, Orlando Rivera, was previously arrested for robbery with a firearm, murder and a litany of other criminal charges, and served five years in state prison.

“He only got five years, for what sounds like, on its face, felonies,” Judd said. “I suggest to you, had our forgiving criminal justice system in Rhode Island and Florida not been as forgiving as it already is, these guys would have been in prison, where it appears they should have been, they would have both been alive today. And their both dead.”

“This is a peaceful, quiet, Poinciana community that erupted in violence last night by these ‘low-level, non-violent, criminal offenders,'” Judd said.

“I didn’t expect it to happen here, but it can happen anywhere, really,” said Erivan Baez who lives in the neighborhood and witnessed some of the incident.

“I told my kids and my wife to go into the bathroom and stay in there for until we heard the gunshots, really. So we were there for about two hours,” Baez recalled. “There was like cops all the way down, blocking the road. Immediately as I came out, they told me to go back inside.”

Naomi Rodriguez is the mother of Arenas. She says she begged deputies to let her speak with her son.

“I know he didn’t do things the right way, but I told the police, he wasn’t doing well mentally. I know I would have talked to him and he would have come outside and there wouldn’t be any problem,” said Rodriguez.

She believes the shooting was unjust. “They promised they wouldn’t do anything to him and when they let him out I could speak to him. They didn’t keep their word and they didn’t have to shoot him the way they did, in the head and kill him. They could have hurt him, but not done what they did,” said Rodriguez.

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