(Rochester, N.Y.) – The 14-year-old boy accused of shooting a Rochester police officer in the head pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges.
Tyquan Rivera was taken by van from the county’s youth detention facility to the Hall of Justice. The youth, who appears small for his age, seemed, at times, to be smiling.
“This is the first time I saw him in person but I've seen pictures of him I had a good idea of what he looked like and yes and he does look like a child,” said Monroe County District Attorney Mike Green, who is handling the prosecution.
Green said Rivera aimed a rifle at Officer Anthony DiPonzio’s head and pulled the trigger. The shooting happened Saturday on Dayton Street as DiPonzio and two other officers were responding to a complaint of drug activity.
DiPonzio is in guarded condition after brain surgery. His parents were inside the courtroom, along with dozens of law enforcement officers from multiple agencies.
“Of course it's horrible on both sides. It really is a terrible tragedy,” said Rivera's attorney, George Conaty. “Our prayers go out to the family of the officer, just have to see our way through this, whatever happens.”
The judge ordered Rivera held without bail after Green said he hadn’t been to school since sixth grade. Green said Tyquan ran away from St. Jospeh’s Villa, a home for troubled youths. Green said Tyquan was on probation and his family could not control him. Green also pointed out that police were intensely looking for Tyquan for three days before he turned himself in.
“He wasn't living at home regularly. He wasn't going to school. He is 14 and he hasn't been going to school for two years. At least two attempts to place him and information we have is he's run away from both of those,” Green said.
Tyquan was charged as an adult, but the sentences for juvenile offenders are different. If convicted, the teenager faces 3 ½ to 10 years behind bars.
“If he gets the maximum penalty, he could be out before he's 18 years old,” Green said. “Certainly if you look at a case like this, if these allegations are true, three and a third years for shooting a police officer in the back of the head doesn't seem appropriate to me.”