POINCIANA, Fla. (WPRI) ─ A murder suspect who was shot and killed by a Florida SWAT team over the weekend had a lengthy criminal history in Rhode Island, Eyewitness News has learned.
Rudy Arenas, 40, is believed to have shot and killed Orlando Riviera Sunday afternoon, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Arenas had arranged to meet Riviera and his wife that evening, Judd said, and the couple watched Arenas count a wad of cash. The preliminary investigation revealed Arenas may have wanted Riviera to count the money for him.
Riviera then told Arenas he needed to go home because he had food for his kids in the car, according to the sheriff, and that’s when Arenas allegedly pulled out a gun and shot Riviera at least four times, killing him.
Judd said Riviera’s wife was shot seven times but despite her injuries, she was able to call 911 and explain what happened. She’s currently listed in stable condition at an area hospital.
After the shooting, Arenas sped off in his daughter’s vehicle then barricaded himself in the bathroom of a relative’s home, Judd said.
A SWAT team was called in and the sheriff said negotiators spent the evening trying to coax Arenas out of the home.
Arenas, who appeared to be on drugs, according to Judd, eventually resurfaced and pointed a gun at the group of officers outside.
“That was his last bad choice,” Judd added. “Three of our team members shot him a lot and he is deceased.”
Rhode Island Judiciary Records show Arenas used to live in Woonsocket and between 1997 and 2016 was arrested numerous times on charges ranging from drug possession to trespassing to obstructing police.
Judd heavily criticized the “forgiving justice systems” in both states, saying all of this could have been avoided if both Arenas and Riviera (who had previously been convicted of murder and armed robbery) remained behind bars.
“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 they’re both dead,” Judd said.