By Douglas Moser
---- — In October 2002, then-17-year-old David Rivera told a Lawrence police officer he was walking up Farnham Street at night when a car pulled up and someone inside opened fire with two different guns.
One of the bullets hit him in the back and he was treated at Lawrence General Hospital. Police found a total of 20 casings on the street after the attack.
More than 11 years later, gunfire again found Rivera, but he wasn’t as fortunate. Rivera, 28, of Farnham Street in Lawrence, was shot to death outside the Sahara Club on Bates Street in Methuen just before 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said his officers are still conducting interviews to figure out who shot Rivera and why. His investigators are working with the Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office and State Police.
Steve O’Connell, a spokesman for Blodgett, said he could not comment on whether a weapon was recovered at the Sahara or whether the shooting is related to the fatal shooting of Edgar Ramos in Lawrence on Oct. 18.
Rivera spent time at the Correctional Alternative Center in 2001 and 2002, before the Farnham Street shooting, for possession of a stolen car. He and three others walked away from The Farm, as the low-security Lawrence facility is known, one day in March 2002 and went on a joyride, but were picked up again a short time later.
He was in minor trouble locally in 2004 for knowingly receiving stolen property and shoplifting, according to records from Lawrence District Court.
But in 2005, he was arrested in Kingston and charged with robbery and criminal threatening after telling a state park employee he would kill him while robbing the admission booth at Kingston State Park. He was sentenced to a year in jail in Rockingham County Court in Brentwood and two years of probation upon release.
In 2008, he was charged in Lawrence District Court with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault to kill and possession of a firearm without a firearms ID card.
The assault to kill and the firearms charges were not prosecuted, but he pleaded guilty to assault and battery, receiving a sentence of 21/2 years in jail suspended for 18 months.
In 2011, he was pulled over on Route 213 in Methuen for speeding and, according to the police report, leading an officer on a chase with speeds up to 120 miles per hour. He was arrested for reckless driving, failing to stop for police and speeding.
According to court records, police seized more nearly $10,000 in cash during that arrest. Officers found $2,760 on him and $7,130 in a backpack in the truck of his black Lexus. The money was mostly $20 bills, according to records.
Methuen police returned his property shortly after his arrest, except for the cash. Rivera’s attorney, noting State Police wanted it held pending an investigation, petitioned to have the money returned because it was not related to any of his charges. The attorney argued that Rivera explained to police that he worked for a tow/scrap business, which was an inconsistent job in a business that accepted and made payments in cash and required him to keep money on him.
The petition was approved. The driving charges were continued without a finding.
Last year, Rivera was arrested in November for not turning off the fog lamps on his car and carrying a knife with a blade longer than three inches. The State Police trooper spotted it when Rivera pulled his wallet out. Rivera told the trooper he carries it because he has gotten stabbed in the past, according to the police report.
The knife charge was dismissed with payment of $100 in court costs.
He also was arrested in June 2012 for driving without being licensed, a charge that was dismissed with payment of $50 in costs.
According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, Rivera lost his license due to an accumulation of violations. He had a Massachusetts license, and a New Hampshire license. He lived in Manchester for several years, according to the RMV and court records.
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