DeBARY, Fla. – A man was arrested on murder charges Sunday after investigators say he fatally shot his friend in the DeBary storage unit where the suspect was living, deputies said.
Julio Rivera, 48, was arrested on first-degree murder charges in a fatal shooting that was reported around 7:15 p.m. along Highbanks Road, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.
According to deputies, the victim’s girlfriend called 911 and said she witnessed her boyfriend being shot and killed. She told 911 she knew who she believed to be the shooter, according to officials.
The woman told investigators Rivera shot her boyfriend in the head three times while they were sitting inside the storage unit. After the shooting, she fled but Rivera followed her to her vehicle, according to the Sheriff’s Office news release.
“We have no indication there was an argument, we have no indication there was anything going on. And the only witness we have is the girlfriend who has met him on multiple occasions," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
The victim’s girlfriend said Rivera told her he would protect her and her children. Upon arriving back to the victim’s home, she took Rivera’s gun and went to get her children. When Rivera left to go back to the storage unit the girlfriend ran to a friend’s home where she was met by deputies, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
When deputies arrived, they found the victim dead in a storage unit. When Rivera arrived back at the storage unit he was taken into custody.
Officials with the Sheriff’s Office said Rivera was living in the storage unit.
Rivera was previously convicted of murder in New York and was wanted on an active arrest warrant for a parole violation. Investigators said they believe Rivera was hiding out in the storage unit since October to avoid arrest.
Investigators have not released the victim’s name but said the victim was 40 years old and a childhood friend of Rivera’s.
Deputies said they recovered “a significant amount of marijuana” in about 20 vacuum-sealed bags, along with an unknown white powder and an unknown brown substance from inside the storage unit.
Rivera is being held in the Volusia County Jail without bail on charges of first-degree murder and his open warrant out of New York.
“Here’s a guy who has no respect for human life and is probably one sick son of a [expletive],” Chitwood said.
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