Surveillance cameras on Bethlehem’s SouthSide captured a fight around 4am Sunday in which three men – one brandishing a piece of wood – repeatedly assaulted the same man until he was knocked unconscious, court records say.
Police identified Joshua Garcia, 24, of Allentown as the man with the wood. He was charged along with Gustavo Rivera, 25, and Johnathon Rivera, 23, both of Bethlehem.
The fight broke out in the midst of 15 people on the 1000 block of Mechanic Street. The records do not say what triggered the fight. But the surveillance footage shows the suspects repeatedly hitting the man, who at one point tried to run away but was struck another time by Garcia and knocked unconscious, the records say.
A criminal complaint filed by city Officer Justin Madera details the following:
- Madera responded to a report that said the fight involved 15 people. One person was reported to have some type of wooden object and was hitting multiple people with it.
- When Madera arrived, a “large group of people” pointed down Hall Street – a north-south street near the fight scene – as the place where the possible suspects fled. Madera saw a man and woman sitting on the side of Mechanic Street. The man “had significant facial injuries and appeared confused and unstable.” The woman had injuries to the left side of her head.
- Other officers located and detained the possible suspects. The woman was taken to them and identified them as the men who assaulted her and the man sitting with her on Mechanic Street.
- Madera then reviewed the surveillance footage. It showed Gustavo Rivera pushing the man – an action that “caused the situation to escalate.”
- Johnathon Rivera then punched the man in the head “and the assault began to get out of control.” Gustavo Rivera and Johnathon Rivera continued to punch and kick the man. The complaint did not say if the Riveras are related.
- Garcia struck the man in the back of the head with the piece of wood several times. The woman, meanwhile, was trying to stop the assault but Garcia hit her in the head with the wood, causing her to be knocked to the ground.
- As Gustavo Rivera and Johnathon Rivera continued punching and kicking the man, Garcia again hit him in the head with the wood, knocking him to the ground. The man tried to run away, but Garcia hit him again, this time knocking him unconscious.
- During the incident, another woman was struck on the elbow as Garcia was swinging the wood.
Garcia’s address is 317 ½ N. Irving St., Apt. 1; Gustavo Rivera’s address is 805 E. Washington Ave., and Johnathon Rivera’s address is 911 E. Fourth St.
They were charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct and harassment and arraigned later Sunday morning by on-duty District Judge Jackie Taschner of Palmer Township. They were committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post bail.
Bail was set at $75,000 for Garcia and $50,000 each for Gustavo Rivera and Johnathon Rivera.