Suspect Winston Apolinario Rivera charged with murder in unprovoked shooting of Juan Luis Gomez-Ramirez on an LA bus

Police tape

The police in Los Angeles, California, have charged Winston Apolinario Rivera with the murder of Juan Luis Gomez-Ramirez on a Metro bus in an unprovoked, random attack in the Commerce neighborhood of the city.

On May 17, 32-year-old Gomez-Ramirez was riding the bus on Slauson Avenue when 30-year-old Rivera got on and sat somewhere behind him.

According to a statement from the LA District Attorney’s Office, the bus had barely moved more than one or two stops when Rivera is alleged to have stood up and shot Gomez-Ramirez in the back of the head. He was killed instantly.

Rivera exited the bus through the rear doors, fleeing the scene. He was later found by LA Sheriff deputies hiding under a train near 6109 Peachtree, Commerce. He has been charged with murder and a special allegation that he used a firearm while committing a crime. 

The motive for the attack is currently unknown. The suspect faces 35 years to life if convicted.

District Attorney George Gascón said yesterday, “This tragic and senseless shooting claimed the life of a beloved husband and father innocently riding on a Metro bus. Our hearts go out to the victim’s family during this incredibly difficult time, and we will provide all the support we can as they navigate through this painful ordeal.”

Juan Luis Gomez-Ramirez murder: Victim and family had recently arrived in Los Angeles

Gomez-Ramirez leaves behind a wife, Sarahi Varela, and their 2-year-old son, Elliot. He was a school teacher and basketball coach in Puebla, Mexico.

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The family had arrived in Los Angeles in February on a tourist visa to see in-laws. They planned to return home in July, but Gomez-Ramirez had taken a part-time job in the meantime to earn a bit of cash and was on his way home from work when he was gunned down.

Sarahi Varela told KTLA in Spanish, with her lawyer translating, “With every day that passes, I feel more and more confused, like I don’t have any answers.”

The widow added, “I need the killer to tell me why he did what he did. I want him to be punished because he ended our family.

Juan Luis Gomez-Ramirez killed following rise in violent attacks on buses and trains

Family attorney Mario Acosta Jr lamented, “He [Gomez-Ramirez] had just gotten on the bus, one stop before he died. Whatever transpired, transpired within a matter of minutes.”

This murder comes following a spate of violent attacks on passengers and drivers on the LA Metro transport system. Gomez-Ramirez’s murder was the fourth fatality on the city’s transport system last week.

On the day of the murder, board members of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority held a press conference to talk about their response to the surge of violent incidents on buses and trains. 

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