Commonwealth v. Keith Samuel Rivera; Man Found Guilty in Shooting Death of Friend

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Harvey L. Bryant, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Keith Samuel Rivera, 22 years old, previously residing in the 600 block of Ocean Lakes Drive  in Virginia Beach, Virginia, was found guilty by Circuit Court Judge Patricia L. West of Involuntary Manslaughter after a two-day trial.  Prior to the trial, Rivera pled guilty to charges of Receipt of a Stolen Firearm and two (2) counts of Providing a False Report to Police.     A pre-sentence report was ordered, and Judge West will sentence Rivera on March 20, 2011.        

The Commonwealth’s evidence proved that on August 11, 2010, Keith Samuel Rivera and the 17-year-old victim were together at Rivera’s home in the Ocean Lakes area of the City of Virginia Beach.  They were in the kitchen with two handguns, belonging to Rivera.  Rivera was using his cell phone while handling a .38 caliber handgun, and he accidentally fired it once, striking the victim in the chest.  As he called 911, Rivera ran outside and hid that gun as well as a .45 caliber in a neighbor’s bush. The victim died before rescue units arrived.  A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured Rivera, while on his phone, running to hide the guns.  Both guns were discovered the next morning by another neighbor. Investigation revealed that the bullet that struck the victim was fired from the .38 caliber.


Rivera told the 911 operator and responding officers that the shooting was a drive-by and the assailants fled in a white car.  He maintained this lie during his interview with homicide detectives. About a week later, Rivera was confronted with the still images taken from his neighbor’s surveillance camera.  He continued to maintain the lie about the drive-by shooting.  Eventually, Rivera admitted that he had accidentally shot the victim while playing with the gun.  The .45 caliber was later discovered to be a stolen firearm, and Rivera admitted to investigators that he knew it was stolen.


Rivera’s prior record includes adjudications as a juvenile for charges of Possession of a Firearm by a Minor, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, and Petit Larceny.


Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Scott M. Lang and Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kari A. Kopnicky prosecuted the case. Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.