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Man Shoots Pal in Head for Not Taking Ride Home from Strip Club: Charges

By Emily Morris | February 26, 2013 10:09am | Updated on February 26, 2013 8:07pm

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Humboldt Park man was charged with shooting a motorcycle gang pal in the head during a fight over how the man would get home from a strip club, prosecutors said.

Gabriel Guardiola, 36, shot Ricardo Rivera, 31, in the head early Sunday morning, authorities said. 

Guardiola, of the 1500 block of North Monticello Avenue, was charged with first-degree murder and was ordered held without bail during bond court Tuesday.

Rivera's family said about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Rivera had returned to the family home in Cicero after a night out.

"I saw him in the kitchen, we laughed about something and then he went upstairs," father Juan Rivera said. "I assumed he was sleeping upstairs."

But Rivera, whose family said he hoped to go into law enforcement, was called out at 2 a.m. when Guardiola picked him up to go to a strip club, prosecutors said.

The two were members of a motorcycle gang called The Speed Rascals, a three-dozen strong group that enjoys riding around the city and helping out those in need, according to member and a close friend of Rivera, Joe Mendez.

Guardiola had split off to join another motorcycle group a few months earlier, but "was cool with" Rivera and other members of the Rascals, Mendez said.

About 4:20 a.m., the friends left the club, with Rivera deciding to walk more than two miles home instead of taking a ride with Guardiola, Rivera's family said.

Guardiola drove his Dodge Charger alongside Rivera shouting at him to get in the car. Both men tried calling a mutual friend at the same time, but weren't able to connect.

"The defendant left a voicemail for this witness stating that he was going to shoot the victim in the head if he didn't get back inside the defendant's car," said assistant state's attorney Stephanie Buck.

Rivera walked into a liquor store parking lot in the 100 block of South Cicero Avenue in Austin when Guardiola pulled up on the curb, got out of the car and put a gun to Rivera's head, prosecutors said.

The voicemail left on the mutual friend's phone matched up with the timing of the shooting, which was caught on surveillance camera, prosecutors said.

Rivera's body was found at 7:30 a.m. Neighborhood residents saw Rivera's body being carried away about 10 a.m. Thursday.

Guardiola was arrested Sunday afternoon, and police found a gun at his home that matched with evidence at the crime scene, prosecutors said.

Guardiola's clothing also had gunshot residue, prosecutors said.

The oldest of three brothers, Rivera was a native of South Chicago before his family moved to the North Side where he graduated from Roberto Clemente Community Academy, family said.

Rivera wanted to go into law enforcement and studied criminal justice in college. But prior run-ins with the law, which include domestic-related misdemeanor charges according to Cook County records, kept him from achieving his dream.

"He wanted to do good in the world," said his mother, Dolores Rivera. "He wanted to move up and do something better with his life."