Victor Nathaneal Rivas, aged 18, is accused of having committed the murder of 15-year-old Ethan Soto in May 2022. During a court hearing in San Antonio, members of the victim’s family physically attacked the suspect after he made a gesture towards them.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, Rivas was present in the courtroom awaiting his case to be heard when he displayed an unrecognized gesture towards the victim’s family.
Subsequently, several members of Soto’s relatives crossed over the barrier dividing them from the suspects and assaulted Rivas as an act of revenge for a drug robbery.
Family of murder victim Ethan Soto attacks suspect Victor Rivas in Texas courtroom after alleged provocation.
The incident led to the arrest of four individuals, including two adult males and two juvenile males, on charges of assault and disrupting court proceedings. pic.twitter.com/vz06UBRiw8
— BoreCure (@CureBore) October 21, 2023
The fight did not end until a stream of police officers flooded in to help the bailiffs, who were outnumbered at the time.
“Two sheriff’s bailiffs who were inside of the courtroom immediately responded to break up the fight,” Deputy Johnny C. Garcia said in a statement to the newspaper.
The report explains, “More family members, including women, became disruptive. Officers pushed them back, handcuffed at least one of them and escorted Rivas and the other jail inmates out of the courtroom.”
A handcuffed murder suspect was viciously beaten by the family of his alleged victim after he appeared to make a gesture at them in a Texas court.
Victor Nathaneal Rivas, 18, was inside the Bexar County courtroom where he is on trial for murder over the death of Ethan Soto, 15,… pic.twitter.com/2JH1Q8QHQf
— Johnny (@tallyman2023) October 21, 2023
Responding deputies were able to successfully break up the fight and placed four individuals involved in the incident into custody,” Garcia stated. Adam La Hood, attorney for Rivas, informed the paper that his client is likely to be left with bruises and swelling.
He added that he had never seen such an occurrence happen in a court before, as it all took place in a split second.
The two men and two teenagers are now facing charges of assault and disrupting court proceedings; however, their identities have not yet been disclosed to the media at this time.