Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of charges against RUBEN PIZZARO for a November 24, 2015, murder in the Bronx and a December 31, 2015, non-fatal shooting in Manhattan during a carjacking.
PIZZARO, a gang member, is charged with shooting and killing David Rivera, a rival gang member, on the morning of November 24, 2015. Weeks later, while law enforcement actively sought to arrest him, PIZZARO is charged with shooting another man on the morning of New Years’ Eve. PIZZARO has been charged in two separate criminal complaints for the murder of RIVERA and the non-fatal New Years’ Eve shooting.
PIZZARO was presented today before the Honorable James C. Francis IV.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The senseless, deadly violence Ruben Pizzaro allegedly committed on the streets of the Bronx is exactly why this office has pledged to help reduce gun violence in the City. By prosecuting gun cases together with our partners at the FBI and NYPD, we will dismantle violent neighborhood gangs and make New York safer for everyone.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “As alleged, Pizzaro showed no dignity towards human life with his actions of killing a rival gang member and his involvement in a non-fatal shooting. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to disrupt and dismantle such violent gang activity, and bring those involved to justice.”
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “The safe apprehension of this individual removes a violent criminal and repeat offender from the streets of our City, as alleged. I want to thank the members of the NYPD and our partners in law enforcement in the offices of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for their work on this case.”
According to the allegations contained in two complaints filed against PIZZARO:
Pizzaro is a member of a Bronx component of a national gang, and sells narcotics in the vicinity of 180th Street and Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, New York, blocks from where members of a rival gang sell narcotics on behalf of two Bronx-based traffickers. On both October 31 and November 1, 2015, PIZZARO, members of the rival gang, including David Rivera, and one of the traffickers exchanged gunfire. Pizzaro also shot a different member of the rival gang in the hand on November 2, 2015.
Three weeks later, on November 24, 2015, in broad daylight at 9:15 in the morning, PIZZARO shot and killed Rivera in the vicinity of 175th Street and Crotona Avenue. PIZZARO remained a fugitive until yesterday. In the interim, he was involved in another serious act of violence on New Year’s Eve. That day PIZZARO committed a carjacking, forcing the Carjacking Victim at gunpoint to drive him to the vicinity of Ellwood Street and 196th Street in New York, New York. Once there, PIZZARO approached another individual (the “Shooting Victim”) on the street, shot the Shooting Victim in the shoulder, and stole two bags that the Shooting Victim was carrying. A fingerprint from PIZZARO was recovered on the van that had been reported carjacked.
PIZZARO, 23, of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of possession of a firearm which causes the death of another individual, which carries a maximum sentence of death, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a carjacking, which carries a sentence of life in prison.
Mr. Bharara thanked the FBI, the NYPD, and the United States Marshal’s Service for their work on the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shawn Crowley, Russell Capone, and Robert Allen are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.