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Lancaster man convicted of third-degree murder in May 2019 drive-by shooting

Ryan Rivera, 24, was found guilty for his role in a May 30, 2019 shooting that killed Tyreek Gardner, 22, on the 500 block of East Chestnut Street.
Credit: Lancaster County District Attorney's Office
Ryan Rivera

LANCASTER, Pa. — A 24-year-old Lancaster man was convicted last week of third-degree murder, criminal conspiracy and carrying a firearm without a license for his role in a May 2019 drive-by shooting that killed a man in the city, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.

Ryan Rivera, of the 500 block of Third Street, was convicted on November 19.

He is accused of conspiring with two other men to shoot and kill Tyreek Gardner, 22, on the night of May 30, 2019. Gardner died of gunshot wounds on the 500 block of East Chestnut Street.

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 are also charged with homicide in connection to the case. 

Pineda is 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.  

The jury heard testimony and saw evidence that Rivera and Brian Paltan, then 21,  confronted Gardner on the 300 block of East Fulton Street after Rivera and Gardner had crossed paths earlier in the night, the DA's office said.

Police say Paltan punched Gardner, who ran from them on Tobacco Avenue toward North Shippen Street. Rivera and Gardner each fired at the victim but did not strike him, prosecutors say. Shell casings were recovered on Tobacco Avenue. 

Rivera and Paltan then returned to the corner of East Fulton Street and North Plum Street, and video footage showed Rivera pointing at Gardner as he ran by onto Chestnut Street. 

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

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. 

The other co-defendants are still facing charges related to the incident.

One of Rivera's co-defendants was a key witness in the case, who the defense argued was untrustworthy in his closing statement. 

First Deputy District Attorney countered in his closing statement, arguing the co-conspirator, regardless of his history, is the only one to know exactly what happened that night in May 2019. 

“If you want to know what happened in a sewer, you have to ask a rat,” Anderson said at trial, according to the DA's office.

Anderson sought a first-degree murder verdict. 

“This case is not about who fired the fatal shot,” Anderson said. “We have irrefutably a plan to find this man and kill this man. This was a common plan to find, attack and ultimately kill the victim.” 

Sentencing will occur at a later date.

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