Columbia Man Convicted of Aggravated Assault, Discharging Firearm

Joel Jomar Ortiz-RiveraJoel Jomar Ortiz-Rivera (Submitted Image)

LANCASTER, PA — A Columbia man was convicted of aggravated assault, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, and recklessly endangering another person after a two-day trial in Lancaster County Court last week, announced the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

Joel Jomar Ortiz-Rivera, age 27, of the 200 block of North 2nd Street, was found guilty by jury of firing a .40 caliber Beretta handgun three times at a parked vehicle in the 200 block of Ave. F on June 16, 2021, around 10:53 p.m.

Columbia Borough Police responded to the defendant’s residence for the report of a weapons offense and was flagged down while en route in the 200 block of North 3rd Street.

The victim in the passenger seat suffered lacerations to his right arm and neck from shattered glass. The bullet from the defendant’s handgun entered the windshield on the passenger side of the vehicle and lodged itself in the frame of the front passenger-side door, mere inches from where the victim was seated.

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Police located two men, the defendant and his cousin, in the defendant’s home with two handguns in plain view on the dining room table. One of the handguns was the .40 caliber Beretta and the other a Taurus 9mm handgun, which were both recovered by police.

Evidence showed the projectile recovered from the vehicle came from the .40 caliber handgun fired by the defendant.

Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Baker prosecuted the case saying it was an unnecessary and completely avoidable episode of gun violence in Columbia Borough. “We’re lucky we aren’t here for something worse,” Baker told the jury.

The jury returned its verdict in about 2 ½ hours on June 14, 2022. Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright presided over the trial and bail remained at $25,000 monetary. The defendant posted bail on June 29, 2021. The defendant was placed on GPS monitoring as he awaits sentencing.

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Columbia Borough Police Officer Brent Smith investigated the case, filed charges, testified, and attended the entirety of trial.

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