Teen Pleads Guilty In Shooting Near Brick School

Photo courtesy Vera Schilling-Fozman

BRICK – A township teen charged with attempted murder and weapons offenses, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault according to a report from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

  Luis Rivas, 16, took a plea deal on March 6, in Superior Court of Ocean County stemming from charges following an Oct. 22 incident.

  Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced on March 3, that Rivas had been charged with four counts of Attempted Murder; Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose; and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. The teen had voluntarily waived jurisdiction of the Family Court — which usually handles juvenile delinquency matters — and agreed to be prosecuted as an adult.

  Prosecutor Billhimer reported that his office will recommend a five-year prison sentence for Rivas though his Rivas’s attorney, Joseph Compitello could argue for a lesser sentence when he is sentenced on May 8.

Photo courtesy Vera Schilling-Fozman

  Brick Police responded to Brick Memorial High School around 1:45 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2019 concerning a report of a student who had sustained a gunshot wound at the school. An investigation revealed that the student was walking home from school with three friends when he was shot approximately one-quarter mile away from the high school.

  As a precaution, the 16-year-old victim, who suffered from a bullet that grazed his shoulder, ran back to the school for help and as a precaution, police and school officials locked down the high school as well as neighboring schools before determining there was no immediate danger to students. 

  The gunshot victim, was treated at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township and subsequently released.

  Video surveillance footage from nearby residences reviewed by detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, showed that Rivas and a second juvenile acting together and in support of one another carried out the shooting. 

  Rivas was apprehended on Oct. 26, 2019, and was lodged in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center where he will remain until his sentencing. The second juvenile, a 17-year-old identified in court on March 6 as A.L. of Asbury Park, was also lodged in the Juvenile Detention Center following his arrest on Oct. 23. 

  A.L.’s matter remains pending in Family Court at present and there was no mention in Superior Court of whether Rivas would testify against his A.L. as part of the plea deal.

  Rivas had told Judge Wendel E. Daniels that A.L. and another person had been picked up at his mother’s residence and agreed to confront several people who they had prior issues with.

  The teen admitted that he and his friends believed there would be a physical altercation with the group but added that he was unaware that A.L. had a gun with him and would use it. He told Judge Daniels that he did not engage in any physical altercation and ran to the car after A.L. discharged the gun.

  Prosecutor Billhimer had thanked Chief Juvenile Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro and Assistant Prosecutor Madeline Buczynski who have handled the case on behalf of the State.  

  He also acknowledged the hard work and persistence of all of the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation: Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit; Brick Township Police Department; Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit; Ocean County Sheriff’s Office; Toms River Township Police Department; Lakewood Township Police Department; Bay Head Borough Police Department; Point Pleasant Beach Police Department; Asbury Park Police Department; Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Monmouth County Emergency Response Team; Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center; and the United States Marshals Service.