A violent domestic dispute on Friday night in Dalton escalated to an accidental shooting that put a mother into the hospital and her two sons in jail. Leonardo Rivera, 21, and Alonso Rivera, 26, were both arrested shortly after the incident.
The incident began with an argument at the residence at 727 McGhee Place shortly after 11 p.m. Leonardo Rivera’s fiancée, Esmerelda Rodriguez reportedly became upset that Leonardo was at a party drinking and talking to other women. Leonardo and his brother Alonso began to argue back with the fiancée. As the argument became more heated, Alonso reportedly threatened to hit her, and Ms. Rodriguez threatened to call police. Leonardo then took her into a separate room where the argument continued. Ms. Rodriguez told police Leonardo picked up a gun at one point and held it to her head, threatening to shoot her. At this point, Josefina Suarez, 52, the mother of Leonardo and Alonso Rivera, came into the room and started to fight Leonardo for the gun. During the struggle, the gun fired and hit Ms. Suarez in the abdomen. Ms. Rodrigeuz told police that Alonso then came into the room and began to punch her in the face and kick her in the stomach. She is three months pregnant. Both Leonardo and Alonso Rivera then fled from the residence out of a back door. When police responded to the scene, they found Ms. Suarez with a gunshot wound and officers worked to tend to her injuries. She was transported to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton and was later taken to another trauma center hospital where she is reportedly in stable condition.
Dalton officers immediately began working to locate Leonardo and Alonso Rivera. Alonso was located a short time later hiding at his residence at 1208 Stacey Drive. Leonardo was located and arrested after returning to the residence at McGhee Place a few hours later. Both were arrested without incident.
Leonardo was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault (family violence), terroristic threats and acts, and reckless conduct. Alonso was charged with battery, battery against an unborn child, and reckless conduct. This incident is under investigation and further charges are possible.