GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids club security guard who shot and killed a man last month will not be charged, having claimed self-defense.
In a Friday release, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said the security guard, whose name News 8 is not using because he will not be charged, told investigators he thought he thought he saw Garcia Rivas pull a gun.
“(T)he People must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (the security guard) did not act in self-defense when he fired his three shots. Under the facts presented here, we cannot do that,” Becker wrote.
“In fact,” the prosecutor continued, “any other evidence we could present would support (the guard’s) argument that he acted in self-defense. … (His) belief is not an unreasonable one given all that had occurred up to this point.”
The prosecutor’s release said Garcia Rivas and his girlfriend were kicked out of Le Petite Chateau for “causing a disturbance.” On his way out, he threw a bottle at the feet of another guard. Once in the parking lot, he argued with other people about what had happened in the club. When the other group went back inside, Garcia Rivas and his girlfriend kept arguing in the parking lot for a short while.
Then, the prosecutor said, surveillance video shows “Garcia Rivas suddenly ran towards the east entrance of the club, picked up a beer bottle that was by a post, opened one door and threw that bottle at the second entry door of the club. … (The guard) is standing just inside that door. When the bottle strikes, you see (the guard) duck, just before Mr. Garcia Rivas violently pulls the inside entry door open.”
At that point, the guard pulled the gun he was open carrying and fired three shots, two of which hit Garcia Rivas, one in the chest and the other in the abdomen. He died at the hospital.
The guard immediately reported the shooting to his supervisor, who called 911, and cooperated with Grand Rapids police when they arrived, the prosecutor said.
“He told police he … saw Mr. Garcia Rivas raise his right hand in an upward motion from his hip area. (The guard) believed he saw something black in the hand of Mr. Garcia Rivas, so he fired three times,” the prosecutor wrote.
When interviewed at the police station, the guard said he was worried for the people inside the club when he opened fire. The guard reiterated he had seen something in Garcia Rivas’ hand and that he was afraid because of Garcia Rivas’ angry behavior.
“…When he was like still rushing towards the door, that’s when I opened it up and let off fire because I’m like if he gets in here and he starts shooting, it’s going to be over for a lot of people,” the prosecutor quoted him telling investigators.
Garcia Rivas didn’t have a gun or anything else in his hand, but the prosecutor said the guard still had reason to believe he was a threat because he had been kicked out of the club, argued in the parking lot, thrown the beer bottle and was actively trying to force his way back into the club.
The prosecutor noted Garcia Rivas’ actions would have constituted a felony and that “under Michigan law, (the guard) is entitled to the rebuttable presumption that he acted appropriately. There is no evidence we could present that would overcome that presumption.”
“…(G)iven all of the circumstances at the time it was not unreasonable for (the guard) to believe he was in danger, even though he was ultimately incorrect,” Becker wrote. “There is no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (the guard) did not act in self-defense that night; therefore, no charges will be filed in this incident.”
Garcia Rivas’ girlfriend was also shot. Her injuries were not life-threatening.