A dispute between two patrons at a Youngstown, Ohio, bar early Sunday morning escalated into a deadly confrontation, but witnesses said the man who fired the deadly shots acted in self-defense.
According to reports from local media, 21-year-old Ezequiel Rivera got into a fight with another customer at the Mi Raza bar and both men were asked to leave around 2 a.m. They left, but Rivera – perhaps thinking the other man was still there – returned a few minutes later, this time armed with a 12-gauge shotgun.
“They saw him coming up on video and couldn’t get the doors closed,” said Capt. Brad Blackburn.
But an employee, whose name has not been released, possessed a valid concealed carry permit and was also armed with a handgun. Witnesses said the employee told Rivera, who fired two shots into the ceiling, to put the gun down several times, but he ignored the commands.
Finally, after Rivera – still armed – failed to back down, the employee turned his gun on him and delivered an unknown number of shots.
Rivera was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:15 a.m., WKBN reported. Steve Gonzalez, who is Rivera’s brother-in-law, was accidentally struck in the back as he was attempting to diffuse the situation. Gonzalez was transported to the hospital, but his current condition is not known.
Although there were many customers in the business at the time of the altercation, nobody else was injured.
No charges have been filed at this time, but the investigation is still ongoing. Blackburn said authorities are working with the prosecutors to determine whether any charges are appropriate, but if it’s determined that the employee acted in self-defense, no charges will be filed.
It’s not known what sparked the initial dispute between Rivera and the other bar patron.
Rivera had a 2013 conviction for possession of dangerous drugs and disorderly conduct, but otherwise clean record.