Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

The mother of a woman shot and killed outside her Oceanside apartment filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the federal government, claiming it failed to prohibit her alleged killer from legally purchasing a firearm, despite the fact that he should have been prohibited from doing so under federal law.

The lawsuit was filed in San Diego federal court by the mother of 24-year-old Devon Rideout, a Camp Pendleton-based Naval hospital corpsman who was allegedly gunned down on July 20, 2018, by 29-year-old Eduardo Arriola, who remains jailed awaiting trial for Rideout’s murder.

According to the lawsuit, Arriola — a former U.S. Marine — was adjudicated in military court for desertion, during which he was found to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.

That finding should have prevented him from purchasing a gun, yet Rideout’s mother alleges Arriola was able to buy a revolver from an Oceanside firing range, which was ultimately used to kill Rideout. The gun was purchased about two months prior to Rideout’s death.

Rideout’s mother alleges Arriola should have been entered into the criminal background check system used by firearms sellers and that various government entities failed to report to the proper authorities that he was a prohibited person.

The suit also cites multiple Department of Defense Inspector General reports alleging failures by various military branches to report criminal records.

“The Department of Defense has failed in its obligation to follow the law; flouted its duty to victims of gun violence, including Devon Rideout; and been inexcusably derelict in doing what the law requires,” the lawsuit states.

Arriola, who lived in the same apartment complex as the victim, was arrested at the scene. He’s due for a hearing in April regarding his competency to stand trial in the murder case.

City News Service contributed to this article.