Police: 2 facing murder, weapons charges in killing of 16-year-old

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Two men are now facing murder charges in connection to the deadly shooting of a 16-year-old Saturday night.

One of the men, Douglas Smith, 31, pleaded not guilty to murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in Rochester City Court Monday morning during his arraignment. The other man, 31-year-old Johnny Rodriguez, of Chili, was arrested Monday.

Police say both men were shooting at each other when bullets hit and killed 16-year-old Manuel Rivera on Hague Street. Investigators say Rivera was not the intended target.

Police say Smith and Rodriguez were fighting over dirt bikes and ATVs speeding down the street. Smith had been upset that a child was nearly struck by one of the dirt bikes Friday.

Investigators say at some point in the fight, both men fired shots at each other, and Rivera was hit. The 16-year-old was not involved in the fight.

Officers took Smith into custody on Sunday.

Smith appeared in court in a wheelchair, as he was shot during the incident. Prosecutor Perry Duckles told News10NBC the man who is accused of shooting Smith will face charges and said more information will be released later.

Smith was previously arrested in July 2020 for allegedly firing multiple gunshots into a family member’s home after an argument. Six people, including four children, were inside at the time, and police say bullets flew just feet from where the family was sitting.

Police say Smith was taken into custody following that incident after he barricaded himself in another residence with his girlfriend and her children. Ammunition for four different types of guns was recovered from the home after officers got a search warrant.

Smith posted a $25,000 bond and was released from custody on Aug. 3, 2020. That case was ultimately presented to a grand jury, and in January and he was indicted for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree endangerment, and fourth-degree criminal mischief.

"I know he did post bail on the other matter so this is one of the rare cases he did post bail, and was out pending that other charge. That other indictment," said First Assistant District Attorney Perry Duckles.

Those charges are still pending in Monroe County Court.

Smith was also arrested on June 23 for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was issued an appearance ticket.

Rodriguez is also facing the same charges as Smith. He is due to be arraigned in Rochester City Court Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

"This charge, because it is a murder, it’s an ‘A’ felony, Judge Yacknin is not allowed to set bail as a local court judge in this matter, so that’s why the preliminary hearing was set for Friday," Duckles said.

Javier Fonseca lives just feet from where it happened and says he and his family were having a party inside their home.

"We went inside, like to go sing Happy Birthday. You know it’s my little sister’s birthday, and then that’s when we heard the shots. Everybody was in the kitchen you know cause that’s where we went to sing Happy Birthday," Fonseca said.

He went on to say that he heard more than 10 shots being fired outside. They came out and found Rivera laying in the street.

"My mom and grandfather, they ran over there you know to try to check on the kid and stuff," Fonseca said.