Man sentenced for killing teen at Rochester cookout in 2021

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on Monday for murdering a teenager at a Rochester cookout in August 2021.

A jury found Douglas Smith, 33, guilty of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon for shooting and killing 16-year-old Manuel Rivera.

Rochester Police say Smith went to an evening cookout at a home on Hague Street and began arguing with people he didn’t know. That led to a gunfight with another man at the cookout, Johnny Rodriguez, both using illegally-possessed guns.

Officers say that, during the gunfight, Smith shot Rivera who wasn’t involved in the fight. RPD charged both Smith and Rodriguez for criminal possession of a weapon. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to his charge on March 13 and will be sentenced on Aug. 28. Smith was the only one charged with the murder.

“At 16 years old, Manuel Rivera was at a party with friends, enjoying life,” said District Attorney Sandra Doorley. “Douglas Smith cut Manuel’s young life short when he drew a weapon and began shooting at Johnny Rodriguez, also risking the lives of everyone in attendance. Manuel was a son, a brother, and a friend. This young man had his entire life ahead of him.