TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Pima County Attorney's Office (PCAO) has declined to charge a man involved in the fatal shooting of Rudolph "Rudy" Vega.
According to a statement from PCAO, 31-year-old David Rivera will not be charged in the March 4 road rage incident that happened near Valencia and I-19 because it falls under Arizona's gun laws and self-defense statutes.
"The statute provides that a person is justified in using deadly physical force 'when and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force.'”
PCAO went on to say that it is legally and ethically bound not to seek charges where self-defense is claimed and if facts support the claim.
On that day, officers responded to reports of a shooting around 2 p.m. and made contact with Rivera.
After speaking with him, officers learned he was involved in a road rage situation. As the two vehicles continued on Valencia, Vega, who was in the passenger seat of the other vehicle, was struck by gunfire.
Vega passed away the next day at a local hospital.
Rivera was booked into the Pima County Jail and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Included in the evidence reviewed, was the audio of a 911 call placed by Rivera on March 4, stating that he was under fire and, in response, returning fire. Rivera stayed at the scene of the incident after it occurred and gave a full statement to law enforcement.
Every lead prosecutor who reviewed the evidence reached the same decision that Rivera could not be charged in the fatal shooting of Rudy Vega.
“After twice meeting with Rudy’s family, we are heartbroken over their loss. We are so sorry for their pain,” Pima County Attorney Laura Conover said. “Until or unless the Arizona Legislature revisits its gun laws and self-defense statutes, PCAO can only operate under the legal framework as it exists."