Attempted murder charges filed against man accused of shooting police officer
The state has officially filed charges against a Cape Coral man accused of shooting a police officer last month during a routine traffic stop.
On Wednesday the State Attorney’s Office charged Yousel Lopez Rivera, 20, of 320 N.W. Third Lane, with one count of attempted first-degree murder on a law enforcement officer while possessing a firearm.
If found guilty, Rivera faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Denied bond, he remained in custody at the Lee County Jail Wednesday.
His public defender, Kenneth Garber, could not be reached for comment.
Rivera allegedly fired three shots at Cape police Officer David Wagoner, 43, during a traffic stop April 16 on Santa Barbara Boulevard, North. Two bullets struck Wagoner’s bullet-proof vest, but the third struck him in the abdomen.
Wagoner was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries, where he underwent emergency surgery. He was released days later.
Rivera, who was a passenger in the vehicle that was stopped by Wagoner, was initially charged with homicide murder while engaged in a certain felony offense.
The state amended the charge to attempted first-degree murder.
Rivera is reportedly a documented gang member of the “Krazy Getdown Boys,” or “KGB.” The group is a statutorily recognized criminal street gang.
According to police, Wagoner conducted the traffic stop at 12:41 a.m. on a Cadillac sedan being driven by a 17-year-old woman. He asked the driver for her license and then asked the passenger, Rivera, if he had any identification.
Rivera told Wagoner that he did not.
Wagoner asked the driver to get out her registration and proof of insurance and then walked around to the passenger’s side window, according to police. As Wagoner got to the window, Rivera shot at Wagoner at point blank range.
Wagoner returned fire, but Rivera and the driver were not hit.
Rivera reportedly jumped into the driver’s seat on top of the woman and began driving away from the scene. The woman was allegedly seat belted in. He eventually crashed into a home at 1138 block of Santa Barbara, North.
Rivera fled the scene on foot, but was later found nearby hiding naked in a garbage can next to a home, according to police. He was taken into custody.
During the crash, the driver of the Cadillac was hurt, along with a person inside of the home that was struck. Both were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The woman was not charged in the incident.
Police reportedly recovered the firearm used to shoot Wagoner.
An investigation into an incident is standard procedure when an officer discharges his or her weapon. The investigation remained open Wednesday.
A father and husband, Wagoner has been with the Cape police since July 2007. A TIB Bank account has been opened for those who want to make a donation to his family. It is the “Cape Coral FOP Special Needs Account.”
It will be several weeks, at the earliest, before he returns to work.
Assistant State Attorney Marie Doerr is prosecuting the case.
Rivera has a court date scheduled Tuesday.