Mother of slain Navy sailor sues feds for failing to block mentally ill former Marine from buying gun
The San Diego Union-Tribune March 3, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — The mother of a Navy sailor who authorities said was shot to death by her mentally ill Oceanside, Calif., neighbor is suing the federal government, alleging it failed to block the accused shooter from buying a gun.
The suit alleges that after Eduardo Arriola, a former Marine, was diagnosed as schizophrenic and discharged in 2017, no one put his name into the FBI database listing people prohibited from buying firearms.
The following year, according to authorities, Arriola bought a firearm from an Oceanside gun store — two months before the fatal shooting of neighbor Navy Corpsman Devon Rideout.
The shooting occurred shortly before 4 p.m. July 20, 2018. Prosecutors say it was unprovoked. Rideout, 24, was walking her puppy and just steps from the front door of her apartment on Los Arbolitos Boulevard. She had just arrived home from work and was still in uniform.
According to testimony at Arriola's preliminary hearing in 2019, he prevented witnesses from helping her, and told people he fired because she was trespassing. Police arrested him at the scene.
The federal suit filed earlier this week by Rideout's mother, Leslie Wood, alleges negligence and wrongful death.
It says the Department of Defense and its agents "failed to enter information which would have prevented Devon's killer from acquiring the gun he used to kill her."
When Arriola was a Marine, he deserted following a hospitalization in late 2014. In 2016, he was arrested and charged with desertion.
According to the lawsuit, Arriola was found incompetent to stand trial. In late 2016, doctors also found it unlikely he soon would be returned to competency.
Arriola was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and had auditory hallucinations and delusions, the federal suit states. He was discharged from the military.
In summer 2018, Arriola was living with his family in the apartment upstairs from Rideout. Authorities said he had no other sort of relationship with her.
During the slaying investigation, police lifted the hood of Arriola's 2018 Toyota. There, on a plastic reservoir, they found words and names scrawled with a black marker.
Among the names: Rideout. At the bottom of the list: R.I.P.
Arriola has pleaded not guilty to murder and a special-circumstance allegation of lying in wait. His mental competency has come into question in the case at least four times thus far. Three times he has been found competent.
The criminal case is on hold pending his fourth competency hearing, set for April 8.
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