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Man arrested after allegedly using pepper spray in Walmart, then slamming victim to the ground and choking her, leaving her unconscious

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Evan Regino Rivera, 19, was arrested yesterday afternoon after allegedly spraying pepper spray at a victim in Walmart, also affecting bystanders. He then allegedly slammed the victim to the ground, punched her, and choked her until she was unconscious.

Gainesville Police Department officers responded to the Walmart at 2900 SW 42nd Street at 2:40 p.m. yesterday, where the victim and witnesses reported that as Rivera was walking out of the store, he was approached from behind by the victim. When she got close to him, he turned around to face her and allegedly sprayed her in the face with pepper spray; an uninvolved bystander was also sprayed in the face with the pepper spray.

Rivera and the victim reportedly began to fight, and Rivera allegedly slammed her to the ground, where she hit her head on concrete. Rivera then allegedly punched her in the head and face several times with a closed fist and then picked her up in a choke hold, causing her to lose consciousness. Witnesses said that Rivera then dragged her back inside the store, dropped her on the floor, and left.

Post Miranda, Rivera reportedly said that he knew the victim, who came up behind him, saying, “What’s up?”, and he turned around and pepper-sprayed her, then slammed her to the ground and punched her.

Four witnesses gave accounts of the incident to officers, and there is reportedly surveillance video of the incident. The victim was transported to the hospital.

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Rivera has been charged with battery and felony battery; he has no criminal history and is being held on $12,000 bail. Court documents indicate that he has lived in Florida his whole life but has only been in Alachua County one day; no employment or school is listed.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

  • It’s a pattern happening all across our Country. Unbelievable random acts of violence. Police are targets as well as citizens of any race or age. Our Nation is completely coming apart. Is this the beginning of the end as the prophecy warned us about?

    • People’s brains have been damaged by Covid and probably the vaccines. Maybe by wearing masks all the time, in some cases. And who knows what this government or some foreign government might be doing to us guinea pigs to mess with our minds/brains. Don’t eat the Chinese shrimp/fish or anything from China if you can help it. Most chain restaurant food (even Red Lobster) is from China although they go to great lengths to try to obfuscate that fact. Don’t forget you’re a human – get some sun, fresh air, go for a walk, and say hi to your neighbors.

  • In the county one day? The word is out – Gainesville is a sanctuary crime-ridden community. Come one, come all. If you can’t beat it, steal it, assault it, get away with it anywhere else – we’ll welcome you.

    Thanks commissioners! Especially Arreola, Saco, Poe, Santos and Ward. If you enjoy reading about the crime and are willing to take your chances – keep voting for those knuckleheads.

      • Kenny…Struck a nerve? Acknowledgement is the first step in correcting the problem. You may want to give it a try.

  • More background needed. Did he grow up here, miss a few classes? Or was he a border baby?

  • I guess you don’t say “whats up” to people…that renders you a thumpin’ here…

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