FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — Jose Rivera’s family took a step toward justice Wednesday when police announced the arrest of 18-year-old Jacob Rangel.
Chief Andre Hall said Rangel had been arrested the previous night for the murder of Rivera, a 53-year-old street vendor.
Hall said detectives were able to identify a vehicle from the drive-by shooting, then found the vehicle parked at a nearby residence. They then identified Rangel as a suspect and served three search warrants in Fresno and one in Madera Tuesday. They found a gun and vehicle they believe were used in the crime and took Rangel into custody.
Rivera’s son, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation opened up about his father.
“I’m fortunate enough in that I did tell him goodbye when he left for work. But you never imagine that the last time you see someone they’re not going to come back,” he said.
He said the family has been shaken up, and news of the arrest brought some peace.
“There was a sense of relief, of being able to breathe a little bit,” he said.
Hall said Rangel confessed to murdering Rivera, saying he told investigators he was upset after buying food from Rivera. Hall said Rangel was angry when he did not have enough money for everything he wanted and so Rivera gave him fewer items.
Less than an hour later, Rangel allegedly drove by and opened fire.
“To see something like this at the end of my career is heartbreaking. It’s absolutely heartbreaking for me,” Hall said.
The senseless act also spoke to Fresno artist Omar ‘Super’ Huerta.
“I right away was touched by it,” he said.
Days later he came to the family’s side, painting a mural and is now demanding answers for innocent lives lost.
“How much of this can we take? Is one of my questions. How much of this is going to happen? Why is this happening?,” he said.
Rivera’s son says his father had been a vendor for a decade and loved it because of all the people he could meet and now he hopes those same people will keep his memory alive.
“Any memory you have of him remember that. Because I believe that’s what keeps us alive, the stories and memories. So whatever you remember him from, please just remember that,” he said.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Rivera’s family with final expenses.