HOUSTON – The suspect in a road rage shooting that ignited fireworks in a truck carrying a family of four was taken into custody Sunday evening, deputies said.
Bayron J. Rivera, 18, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of aggravated assault.
The incident was reported about 10 p.m. July 4 at a QuikMart in the 1800 block of West Mount Houston Road near Ella Boulevard, and it left a couple and their two young children severely burned, deputies said.
Officials released surveillance video of the moment fireworks inside the vehicle exploded after Rivera shot at it following the road rage incident.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said an AR-15 was found in Rivera's vehicle and that investigators believe that was the weapon he used.
"In the process of the investigation, investigators did recover a weapon. It's an AR-15, which is consistent with evidence we found at the scene," he said.
Gonzalez said Rivera told investigators he didn't know there were children in the vehicle.
"The individual (Rivera) came forward and did show remorse," Gonzalez said.
"This started as a road rage incident, both parties had an opportunity to break it off during the incidents," Lt. Jeff Stauber, with HCSO Violent Crimes Unit, said. "Today successfully we got another weapon off the street and the individual that did this is in the Harris County Jail."
The children were scheduled to undergo surgery Monday. The father is still in the hospital, while the mother has been released.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they go through a very difficult recovery, again especially the children," Gonzalez said.
How did the altercation begin?
Prosecutors said the victim was exiting a Fiesta after purchasing fireworks and turned onto Veterans Memorial Drive, pulling out in front of Rivera and cutting him off.
Rivera pulled up next to the victim and the men exchanged words. Rivera said the victim called him an expletive in front of his girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat, and that he was mad.
The victim turned right onto West Mount Houston. Rivera followed him, according to prosecutors.
The victim said he went to a Walgreens for about 10 minutes and saw Rivera in the parking lot when he walked out.
The victim left Walgreens and turned left when he noticed Rivera following him, prosecutors said.
The victim pulled into the QuikMart and Rivera followed.
Both parties got out of their vehicles and exchanged words, according to prosecutors.
The victim told investigators he saw Rivera grab a gun, so he got back into his vehicle and left the parking lot, prosecutors said.
That's when Rivera opened fire on the vehicle, and fireworks ignited causing the victim, his wife and two children to be burned, according to investigators.
Rivera told investigators he saw the victim reach for something in his vehicle and that's why he drew his weapon.
Prosecutors said the defendant's girlfriend gave a statement, then changed her story, instead saying that the two left the Walgreens and went to Rivera's house. She said Rivera told her he wanted to leave the house. They went back to the Walgreens to find the victim, then followed the vehicle to the QuikMart.
The girlfriend claimed she also saw the victim reach into his vehicle for something.
Rivera made a court appearance Monday morning.
He faces a total bond of $120,000.
The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating how the fireworks ignited.
"The origin and cause of this investigation (fire) is ongoing," Harris County Fire Marshal Laurie L. Christensen said.