NEW BRITAIN – An Orlando man appeared in an Orange County, Florida, court Thursday after his arrest earlier this week in New Britain for killing a teenager in Florida.
Luis Rivera Jr., 20, has several charges against him including second-degree murder with a weapon and three counts of tampering with evidence in the killing of 16-year-old Bruce Hagans in Florida. Rivera was arrested Monday after being found hiding in a basement of 35 Torkom Road, according to a release from the Winter Garden, Florida, police department.
According to the warrant for Rivera Jr.’s arrest, Hagans got into a car Rivera Jr. was driving for a marijuana drug deal on May 31. A scuffle ensued and witnesses heard multiple gunshots come from inside the car before Rivera Jr. fled the area with Hagans slumped in the passenger seat.
Police said Rivera Jr. met his father, Luis Rivera Sr., 49, at an auto body shop within 15 minutes of the shooting and left the vehicle there. Police interviewed the owner of the shop, Luis Then-Vargas, who said the two Riveras transferred the body of Hagans into the father’s car, cleaned Rivera’s Jr. car and drove off with surveillance footage from the business and a shovel.
The shop owner’s son, Luis Jose Then, cleaned the inside of Rivera Jr.’s car after the shop owner refused to, the warrant continued. Then told his father while cleaning the interior of the car, blood was splashing him in the face and that he removed and replaced the front passenger seat as part of the seven-hour process. Blood was dripping from behind the passenger seat, according to the warrant.
Police also spoke with a Trajan Tracey, who said Rivera Jr. and Rivera Sr. showed up at his residence on May 31. Tracey said Rivera Jr. told him Hagans lunged toward him and grabbed him, so Rivera Jr. shot him, the warrant said.
The three then left Tracey’s place with shovels and buried Hagans in a wooded area about two or three feet deep near the residence of Then-Vargas, the warrant said. Rivera Jr. and Rivera Sr. then changed their clothes and burned them, the white plastic trash bag to wrap up Hagans and the shovels in a burnpit of the shop-owner’s property.
On June 1, Tracey drove Rivera Jr. and his sister to the Orlando airport where the two then flew to Hartford, the warrant said.
Police searched a vacant lot next to Then-Vargas’ home, where Hagans was found with multiple gunshot wounds to his torso area, the warrant said. Police said they believe Hagans was still alive when Rivera Jr. fled the scene.
Rivera Sr. has been charged in the case with several charges, including multiple counts of tampering with evidence and appeared in court in Florida on June 8.
Capt. Jason Pearson of the Winter Garden Police Department said the investigation is still ongoing and arrests additional arrests are expected.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.