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No Hate Crime Charges in Shooting Death of California LGBTQ+ Advocate Despite Antigay Slur

No Hate Crime Charges in Shooting Death of California LGBTQ+ Advocate Despite Antigay Slur

Bakersfield CA Men Daniel Landeros and Fredi Rivera
Images:; KGET news footage

Daniel Landeros was celebrating his birthday when he was shot dead in a Bakersfield park.

Prosecutors in California will not seek hate crime charges against the man who allegedly yelled an antigay slur before shooting to death LGBTQ+ advocate Daniel Landeros last month.

Fredi Rivera, 27, was arrested on October 4 and charged with the first-degree murder of Landeros at Yokuts Park in Bakersfield around 11:30 p.m. on September 18. Landeros, 43, was celebrating his birthday with a walk through the park with a friend when Rivera allegedly approached the pair and uttered “a homosexual derogatory slang,” the friend later told investigators, local NBC affiliate KGET reported.

Against the friend’s advice, Landeros followed the man who was seen near a black 2003 H3 Hummer and hurled an insult of his own while the friend waited on a park bench. Moments later the friend reported hearing a single gunshot and seeing the vehicle pull away. Landeros staggered to him with a gunshot wound to the chest and collapsed. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:18 p.m. by police.

Despite the alleged use of a derogatory slur by Rivera, Deputy District Attorney Samantha Allen said her office doesn’t have sufficient evidence to warrant hate crime charges.

“We filed the charges based on the evidence submitted,” Allen said in a statement. “The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Despite the lack of a hate crime charge at present, prosecutors feel they have a strong case. The Hummer seen at the scene was found gutted by fire the following day roughly 30 miles south of Bakersfield. It was linked to Rivera and his mother’s home in Delano where he was living at the time. According to court documents, his mother at first told police the Hummer had been parked in the driveway at the time of the murder. When confronted with images proving the Hummer was elsewhere, police say she said she had not seen the SUV that night and that her son had told her to report it stolen.

Rivera was arrested for grand larceny related to the robbery of a Lowe’s store this past summer, and reportedly had a restraining order filed against him by his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child due to acts of violence.

A friend of Landeros, Phillip Castro, told KGET in September he wanted to see justice for his late friend.

“I would like to see some justice brought to this situation,” said Castro. “I think Daniel deserves that. He’s put his heart and soul into this community, and it’s time the community repays that back to Daniel.”

Rivera remains in jail on $1 million bail. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for December.

Pictured above: Daniel Landeros (L) and Fredi Rivera.

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