Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on October 2, 2020, Luis Rivas, 17, of Brick Township, was sentenced by the Honorable Wendel E. Daniels, P.J.Cr.P, to four years in New Jersey State Prison subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2., as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1). Rivas entered his guilty plea on March 6, 2020 before Judge Daniels. Rivas’ guilty plea to Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault was contemplated in connection with his voluntary waiver of the Family Court’s jurisdiction in this matter, and his further agreement to be charged and prosecuted as an adult in Criminal Court.
On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at approximately 1:45 p.m., Brick Township Police were summoned to Brick Memorial High School for a report of a student who had sustained a gunshot wound. Investigation revealed that the student was walking home from school with three friends when he was shot approximately one-quarter mile away from Brick Memorial; he then ran back to the school for help. As a precaution, Brick Township Police and school officials locked down the high school as well as neighboring schools before determining there was no immediate danger to students. The victim was treated at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township and released.
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 reviewed video surveillance footage from nearby residences. The video surveillance depicted Rivas and a second juvenile, Alonzo Legrande, now 18, of Asbury Park, acting together and in support of one another in carrying out the shooting. Further investigation revealed that Legrande was the individual who actually fired the weapon. Rivas was apprehended on October 26, 2019, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center since his apprehension.
Alonzo Legrande, who also agreed to waive the jurisdiction of the Family Court and be prosecuted as an adult, pled guilty to Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1) and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a on September 17, 2020 before Judge Daniels. Legrande has likewise been lodged in the Juvenile Detention Center since being taken into custody on October 23, 2019, where he remains pending his sentencing presently scheduled for November 20, 2020.
“As I have previously stated, our law enforcement partners at the local, county, state and federal levels exhibited outstanding teamwork and cooperation with regard to this investigation,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “I am grateful that as a result of the extraordinary efforts of these brave men and women in law enforcement, Rivas has been made to answer for his flagrant lawlessness with this four year prison sentence. And soon, Legrande will meet with his fate as well. Violent and out-of-control behavior will not be tolerated in Ocean County, and those who inject fear and chaos into our neighborhoods – regardless of their age – will be prosecuted accordingly,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the tremendous work of Chief Juvenile Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro and Assistant Prosecutor Madeline Buczynski who handled the case on behalf of the State. Additionally, Prosecutor Billhimer is thankful for the steadfast efforts of all of the law enforcement agencies involved in bringing these defendants to justice: Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit; Ocean County Victim Witness Advocacy 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.