The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the officer-involved shooting which occurred on May 30, 2019. This incident occurred in the city of Ontario and involved the Ontario Police Department.


On May 30, 2019, at about 2:20 pm, the Ontario Police Department received a “911” call from a father reporting his daughter, Araceli Arias, was behind the residence with a loaded handgun. The father believed Arias was going to kill herself because she was angry and on drugs.

Several police officers responded to the residence, along with the police department’s helicopter. The helicopter activated its video camera as it arrived and saw Arias standing on a chicken coop in the back yard. Arias had a handgun in one hand, and a machete in the other hand. 

Arias was pointing the handgun in various directions, and wildly swinging the machete. The officers in the helicopter used their loudspeaker (“PA system”) to speak to Arias. They told Arias numerous times to drop her weapons; however, she did not comply with their requests. At various times, Arias pointed the handgun at the helicopter, and at one point, she appeared to be “manipulating the slide” on the handgun. “Manipulating the slide of a handgun” refers to a person moving a part of the handgun, which loads ammunition into a chamber, where it can be shot by pulling the trigger.

Arias’ son was in the back yard during this incident, and after speaking with Arias, he climbed onto the chicken coop. Arias kept her son away from her, as she swung the machete wildly, and pointed the handgun at the son.

The son eventually rushed towards Arias, where he was able to take possession of the handgun. The son moved to the roof of another structure, with Arias in pursuit. The son threw the handgun from the roof while Arias aggressively attempted to retrieve it from the son.

Arias jumped from the roof and ran to the area where the son had thrown the handgun. Arias searched the yard for the handgun, which she eventually found. She picked up the handgun and a section of 4′ pipe, held in opposite hands.

During the time when Arias and her son struggled over the handgun, the officers in the helicopter notified the officers on the ground what was happening. Because there was a struggle between a potential victim (the son) and Arias, involving a loaded handgun, a team of officers entered the yard to make their way towards the struggle.

The officers were all wearing their official police uniforms, which consisted of their badges and other symbols and equipment. Accompanying the officers was a police dog, or “K9.” The K9 was bit immediately by a German Shepherd dog, which was already in the yard before the officers arrived.

The officers found a parked vehicle in the yard, where they hid behind to shield them from any bullets, should Arias start shooting the handgun. The German Shepherd ran towards these officers from behind. To prevent the German Shepherd from attacking the team, an officer fired his handgun at the German Shepherd, to stop its attack.

Within six or fewer seconds of the German Shepherd running towards the officers, Arias ran aggressively and violently towards the team of officers, still armed with the handgun and pipe.

The team of officers screamed commands to Arias to drop the handgun, but she did not comply. She continued to run towards the officers, closing the distance very quickly. Two officers fired their weapons and shot Arias, who fell to the ground.

Paramedics, who had already been summoned to the scene when this situation was developing, immediately tended to Arias, who was later pronounced deceased.


This shooting was investigated by the Ontario Police Department. A review of the investigation, reports, evidence, and statements was completed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

Based on the facts presented in the reports and the applicable law, our office concluded the officers’ use of lethal force was a proper exercise of their rights of self-defense and defense of others, and therefore their actions were legally justified.


By providing a thorough explanation to the community regarding the review of officer-involved shootings, it is the intention of District Attorney Jason Anderson and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to maintain the community’s confidence and trust in its law enforcement officers and district attorney’s office.

Key Points Of This Incident

  • A 911 call from a family member to police directed them to a residence regarding an angry person, Araceli Arias
  • Arias was in possession of a loaded handgun
  • This incident occurred in a residential area
  • In addition to the handgun, Arias armed herself with a long-bladed knife and later a pipe
  • Arias fought with her son to keep possession of the handgun
  • Arias pointed the handgun at police officers in a flying helicopter
  • Arias ignored the police officers commands to drop the handgun
  • Arias charged towards the police officers while holding the handgun and a pipe
  • The officers stopped Arias’ attack by shooting her 

When a person calls 911 in a situation such as the one described in this news release, it is because the caller believes an emergency response by trained first-responders is needed to stop the potentially dangerous actions of an individual.

Police officers are trained to respond to situations such as these, and they continually update their training as new situations and techniques are identified. Additionally, police officers have equipment on their belts, vests, and vehicles, which they use to complete their duties.

Police officers are expected and authorized to use the equipment to protect themselves and others from suffering injuries or death. To some, watching a police officer using some form of physical force against another person can be upsetting or disturbing. 

Police officers prefer to use the least amount of force, whether it be their mere presence or through the use of verbal commands, to diffuse situations. However, there are situations, such as this incident, in which physical force is necessary for the safety of the community and the police officers.

In rapidly tense situations, officers do not have a great deal of time to plan, revise, or analyze a situation, such as readers of this article can. When a situation evolves, officers must make the best decisions possible in a condensed amount of time, to protect and save lives.

The community expects that the people they call upon to protect them, which is the police in this situation, will not back down, be intimidated, or run scared when danger presents itself. 

On May 30, 2019, Araceli Arias was responsible for the choices she made that day. Arias chose to use methamphetamine, and she chose to arm herself with a loaded handgun, machete, and later a pipe while acting irrationally in a residential neighborhood.

Arias decided to fight with her son in an attempt to keep the handgun, and she also decided to search and retrieve the handgun once it was taken from her.

Towards the end of the incident, Arias chose not to abide by the police officers’ orders to drop her handgun. Instead, she decided to aggressively and violently run towards the police officers. These officers had no other option than to defend themselves and protect the nearby residents and community from any further harm Arias may have brought to them. 

The Officer-Involved Shooting Review Team

The district attorney’s office has always reviewed Officer-involved shootings in San Bernardino County. 

Upon taking office, District Attorney Jason Anderson wanted a dedicated team of trained and experienced deputy district attorneys and investigators to not only review these shootings but also to respond to the scene of shootings. 

The review unit did not respond to this shooting scene as the design and development of the new team, and its protocols were still being developed. 

Please visit to learn more about this team.

As the district attorney’s office, we realize the entire community is affected when a person loses their life, regardless of the situation or circumstances. It is our responsibility to ensure that all parties involved in situations such as the one involving Araceli Arias acted lawfully.


KCAL 9 – Woman And Dog Killed In Officer-Involved Shooting In Ontario

KABC 7 – Ontario: Armed woman, dog die after officer-involved shooting


View San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office Shooting Review