NewsPolk County


'Our SWAT team shot him — a lot:' Polk County homicide suspect killed in standoff

Posted at 6:22 AM, Feb 17, 2020

POINCIANA, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting and subsequent SWAT standoff that left two people dead in Poinciana on Sunday night and into early Monday morning.

According to the sheriff's office, deputies responded to reports of a shooting on Finch Lane just before 7:30 p.m.

"I'm going to brief you about a wild night last night in Poinciana," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press conference Monday morning.

Judd said 40-year-old Rudy Arenas, also known as "shorty," shot Orlando Rivera and his wife Brenda in front of a home on Finch Lane after arranging a meeting.

According to Judd, Arenas called Orlando on Sunday night and said he needed to show him something. Orlando and Brenda met with Arenas in their vehicle in front of the home on Finch Lane. Arenas was in his daughter's vehicle.

At the meeting, Judd said Arenas pulled out "a wad" of money and started to count it. Judd said Arenas opened fire when Orlando told him he didn't have time for the meeting.

"Orlando says, 'Hey, I got food in the car for the kids. I don't have time for this,'" Judd said. "To which Rudy said, 'You don't have time to watch me count my money?' And he immediately pulled a gun and started shooting."

POLK NEWS | The latest headlines from Polk County

Orlando Rivera was shot four times and Brenda Rivera was shot seven times, Judd said.

Brenda called 911 and said "Shorty" shot them, according to Judd.

Deputies arrived and attempted life saving measures on Orlando, but they were unsuccessful.

Brenda is currently at a local hospital where Judd said she's in stable condition.

After the shooting, Arenas ran from the scene and called his daughter. They met and she called the Osceola Sheriff's Office, who notified the Polk Sheriff's Office, Judd said.

Polk Deputies tried to pull Arenas over in front of a home on Wood Lane, which is about eight minutes from where the shooting took place. Arenas got out of the vehicle and ran into the home, which Judd said is owned by a relative of Arenas.

Arenas barricaded himself inside a bathroom and the SWAT team was called. Judd said this was around 10:25 p.m.

"Rudy is talking out of his head," Judd said. "He says he's on drugs and he talks about Fentanyl. Others have told us he was on a binge."

Judd said while the SWAT team negotiated with Arenas throughout the night, he threatened to shoot them and himself. At some point during the negotiations, Judd said Arenas came out of the bathroom as if he was going to come outside. Judd said at that time, he didn't have the gun in his hand.

Judd said Arenas ran back into the bathroom before coming out again, this time with his gun and hand in his pocket. Judd said after deputies shot him several times with beanbags, Arenas fell and dropped his gun. He picked it back up and pointed it at deputies, according to Judd.

"That was his last bad choice," Judd said. "When he picks the gun up, and he's coming up in order to point it at the SWAT team, three of our SWAT team members shot him — a lot."

ABC Action News spoke wtih the suspect's adult daughter, who says she was outside with her grandmother at the time of the shooting. She watched her father, Rudy Arenas get shot and killed.

Naomi Rodriguez, Arenas' mother called the shooting an injustice.

"I feel so hurt this is injustice. He didn’t deserve to die like this. I know he didn’t always do good but he was not mentally sound. And I told them that very clearly," Rodriguez said.

His mother went on to say Arenas was on drugs and had been talking about taking his own life for several days.

Rodriguez claims she told deputies she would go in to talk with him but they never let her. She tells ABC Action News it would have been fine to injure him by shooting him in the leg or hand but to shoot him six or more times in the head is an injustice.

Judd said Arenas was a convicted felon and got the gun earlier in the day after he stole it from an acquaintance.

Judd said in the press conference he anticipates the information to change as authorities learn more information during their investigation.

Story developing, refresh for updates. Stay with ABC Action News for the latest.