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Lancaster man will serve up to 80 years in prison for role in deadly 2019 drive-by shooting

Ryan Rivera, 24, will serve a 40- to 80-year prison term for his role in the death of Tyreek Gardner, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.
Credit: Lancaster County District Attorney's Office
Ryan Rivera

LANCASTER, Pa. — A Lancaster man will serve up to 80 years in prison after his conviction for his role in the shooting death of Tyreek Gardner in May 2019, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.

Ryan Rivera, 24, was convicted of third-degree murder, conspiracy, and carrying a firearm without a license in November 2021 by a Lancaster County jury and was sentenced in a hearing Wednesday morning.

Rivera was part of a group accused of conspiring to kill Gardner in a drive-by shooting on the 500 block of East Chestnut Street in May 2019.

Also charged in connection to the case are Brian Paltan, Vladimir Paltan, and Daniel Pineda, according to criminal complaint affidavits filed by police in the case.

Brian and Vladamir Paltan, who are brothers, are also charged with homicide in connection to the case. 

Pineda is already serving 14 to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to hindering apprehension after lying to police about having any knowledge of Gardner's murder.

Pineda then called Rivera, his friend, on a recorded line while serving in prison for an unrelated crime, and told him to "be careful" because police were asking about him.  

Lancaster County Judge Dennis Reinaker ordered a sentence of 40 to 80 years in prison and heard statements from the victim’s sister and mother. 

Defense counsel read a statement from the defendant’s mother, according to prosecutors.

When asked by the judge if he wished to speak, Rivera responded “no sir.” 

“One of my responsibilities is to keep the community protected from the threat of danger,” Reinaker said in court. “The streets of Lancaster will be safer without you on them. Hopefully someday he’ll come to appreciate the gravity of what he’s done.” 

First Deputy District Attorney Travis Anderson asked for the maximum sentence of 43 ½ to 87 years in prison, stating this was Rivera’s third separate offense involving a firearm and that Rivera was still on parole when he murdered Gardner. 

Rivera faces the potential of serving additional time on a parole violation, which by law would have to run consecutively to this sentence. 

“State prison is made for people like Ryan Rivera,” Anderson said. “One would be hard-pressed to find a more malicious third-degree murder than in this case.” 

Anderson presented evidence during trial that Rivera and Brian Paltan confronted Gardner on the 300 block of E. Fulton St. after Rivera and Gardner had crossed paths earlier in the night. 

Brian Paltan allegedly punched Gardner, who ran from them on Tobacco Ave. toward N. Shippen St. 

Rivera and Brian Paltan each fired at the victim but did not strike him. Shell casings were recovered on Tobacco Ave., according to evidence presented at trial.

They then returned to the corner of E. Fulton St. and N. Plum St. and video footage showed Rivera pointing at Gardner as he ran by onto Chestnut St. 

Shortly after, Rivera and the other man got into a Volkswagen Passat, which was captured on video surveillance driving down Chestnut St. to catch up with the victim. 

Vladamir Paltan was allegedly behind the wheel of the Passat, which was registered to Brian Paltan, according to police.

Additional video captured the audio of the shots being fired. 

Vladamir and Brian Paltan have not yet been tried on the charges against them and are presumed innocent.

Assistant District Attorney Elaine Preli assisted in the prosecution of Rivera. Lancaster City Bureau of Police Detective Sergeant Thomas Ginder filed charges and attended the trial and sentencing.

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