Tuesday afternoon, Rafael Vincent Rivera, 50, and G.P., also 50, were involved in a road rage incident on Pine Lakes Parkway in Palm Coast that escalated, with a knife getting pulled, then swung, then a gun getting drawn, and Rivera getting arrested and facing a felony aggravated assault charge.
Rivera was at the wheel of a Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck. G.P. was riding a motorcycle with his 44-year-old wife L.P. The motorcyclist reported to authorities that Rivera allegedly cut him off, then threw something at his motorcycle as they drove in the W Section. G.P. followed Rivera’s truck to the intersection of Pine Lakes Parkway and Whirlaway Drive, where Rivera “exited his vehicle with a fixed blade drawn in his hand,” according to his arrest report.
G.P. equipped himself with brass knuckles, concerned that there might be a physical altercation, and his wife started recording the confrontation with her phone. The two minute and 46 second video the Sheriff’s Office released starts at a point where the two men are fully engaged in the confrontation and a phone has just dropped to the ground.
Rivera is holding a knife in his right hand, three of four feet away from G.P., G.P. is daring him: “do it!”
G.P.’s wife tells Rivera he has a knife while her husband has nothing, casing Rivera to point to the brass knuckles and call them “illegal,” though G.P. tells him he has a permit (brass knuckles are considered a weapon and under Florida law require a concealed carry permit). “What the fuck is that, that’s legal?” she yells, pointing at Rivera’s knife. Rivera is clutching it in his fist.
‘You’re a pussy for pulling that out,” G.P. tells him. “You’re a fucking asshole,” Rivera replies. “I’m telling you, don’t fucking do it, don;t be fucking stupid,” and so on as L.P. adds comments of her own (“I’ll take your fucking truck…”).
The two men continue to exchange words, inching closer top each other, then Rivera is seen swinging his knife sharply at G.P. At that point G.P. draws his Glock, points it at Rivera and tells him to put down the knife immediately, in the same seasoned language both men have been using. “Witnesses!” Rivera yells out, waving his arm around. (The 911 dispatch center was to receive six calls related to the incident.) “You just tried to fucking stab, I got it on fucking film,” L.P. yells back as he walks away by several steps, only to start walking back and continue to argue. Rivera says he’s calling the cops. “You just swiped at him, that’s assault,” she tells him. “That’s attempted assault with a deadly weapon.”
Rivera dials 911 and tells the dispatcher “I just had a guy pull a gun on me,” while L.P. yells out loud enough for the dispatcher to hear that he’d swung a knife. The video ends just as Rivera is insulting the woman.
Rivera later told deputies that the motorcyclist had been driving “erratically” and that G.P. had shown him the finger. He denied approaching G.P. aggressively, and “did not recall this occurring,” according to his arrest report.
“Traffic disagreements should never result in violence in our streets,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a statement. “In this particular incident, the video captured by the victim’s wife clearly shows that her husband’s life was threatened. I applaud the way the motorcyclist handled this situation. After his life was clearly threatened, he lawfully defended himself and then de-escalated the situation. The offender is lucky he was not shot. I also remind the community to not take traffic enforcement in your own hands and control your anger. Call the Sheriff’s Office instead.”
Rafael was arrested in 2015 on on charges of grand theft and criminal mischief, charges that were transferred to county court, where he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors. He was jailed again briefly for violating his probation, but had not been back at the jail until Tuesday. Late this morning he posted bail on $5,000 bond and was released. Last August G.P. was himself arrested on a domestic battery charge after authorities saw him on a Ring video grab his alleged victim by the hair and tell her “I’m going to beat the piss out of you.” The charge was soon dropped.