El Tapy Bar shooting leaves 1 dead, 1 injured

Deputies say physical fight escalated into shooting

WINTER PARK, Fla. – A 34-year-old man is dead after a fight turned deadly at a Winter Park bar.

Orange County deputies said the fight escalated into a shooting Saturday at about 1 a.m. at El Tapy Bar on Aloma Avenue.

The gunfire broke out after two men got into an altercation, deputies said.

Sheriff's Office officials said Richard Rivera Jr. shot a 32-year-old man at the bar and a third person shot Rivera, killing him.

Rivera was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Rivera's family and friends set up a makeshift memorial outside of the bar where they say he lost his life. 

A makeshift memorial set up outside El Tapy Bar in Winter Park for the 34-year-old man fatally shot on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (Image: Jerry Askin/WKMG)

"Richard was a loving caring, fun, outgoing, respectful person, everyone had respect toward him," said Rivera's sister, Nelisha Colon. "I wish I could have my brother back for real. I wish I could wake up from a dream and nothing ever happened." 

Rivera's family said he never made it inside the bar before he was shot. They have lots of questions about what happened. 

"We’re trying to figure out if there’s a little more to it. How it happened and why it happened," Colon said. 

In working to find out more about the people involved, News 6 learned Rivera has been arrested before on charges that include battery and burglary. He was arrested in June when he was accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend. His family said despite his past, he was a good guy and never deserved to die in this way. 

"It really hurts me, it really does to be honest with you," Colon said.

Documents show that Orange County Sheriff's deputies have responded to the bar more than 100 times in the past year for reports of battery, verbal disputes and much more.

We also know Sheriff John Mina has been pushing to shut down what he calls troubled bars and clubs in Orange County, but based on state law, he can’t. He‘s been urging lawmakers to give law enforcement more authority to make that happen. 

Authorities said all parties are accounted for and cooperating with investigators.

No charges have been filed. Deputies haven't yet released the identities of the other men involved. 

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