Detectives and family members asked for the public's help Thursday in finding three people linked to the homicide of a man who regularly helped out transients staying at an encampment in the San Gabriel Riverbed in Cerritos.
Gustavo Arteaga, 37, was fatally shot on July 28, 2017, while he prepared food for his companions at the encampment, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The assailants had walked up to the riverbed looking for someone they had an altercation with earlier, Lt. John Corina said in a news conference on Thursday. Arteaga told them that person was no longer there and asked them to leave, according to the official.
"They got into a little dispute with Gustavo, and they decided to solve that dispute by pulling out a gun and shooting at [him]," Corina said.
An individual living at the encampment was also shot but survived, Corina said. Arteaga died on the way to a hospital.
Authorities described the three suspects, who remained unknown and were last seen running on Palo Verde Road, as Hispanic men between 30 to 40 years old.
The Sheriff's Department called Arteaga a "compassionate neighbor" who often brought food to homeless individuals and welcomed them to his home so they could shower.
He's survived by his four children and wife of 15 years, Priscilla.
"Gustavo had a big heart," she said at Thursday's news conference. "A lot of our arguments in the beginning were because he would take our food and give it to the homeless. And I told him, 'Gus, we barely have enough for ourselves.' But that's the way he was."
Anyone with information could call the Sheriff's Department at 323-890-5500. Those who want to remain anonymous could contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.