Dad: Victim's kin were 'relentless' in search for alleged killer

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Leonaldo Rivera, 25, turned himself in to police Friday. The Camden resident has been charged with murder, aggravated assault and firearms violations, court records show. (Photo courtesy of Philadelphia police)

AFTER more than a month of scouring social media and consulting with police, Wilfredo Rojas found some relief.

Well, as much relief as he can muster, knowing that the man allegedly responsible for his son's death in Feltonville is behind bars.

Leonaldo Rivera, 25, turned himself in to police Friday. The Camden resident has been charged with murder, aggravated assault and firearms violations, court records show.

Law-enforcement agencies on both sides of the Delaware River had sought Rivera in the death of Alejandro Rojas-Garcia, 24, who was gunned down Jan. 24 outside the A Lounge Social Club, on Macalester Street near Hunting Park Avenue in Feltonville, after a night out with friends.

And almost immediately after that predawn slaying - for which police haven't released a motive - Rojas became an amateur detective, sussing out information about his son's alleged killer through social media.

Some details saddened him, like the fact that Rivera has a son of his own, whose life will never be the same.

Other details infuriated him, like the pictures that Rivera posted to Facebook of him partying in celebration of his birthday, three weeks to the day after Rojas-Garcia's death.

"It was like he was laughing in our face," said Rojas, a board member of the Gloucester County NAACP. "It got to us.

"It turned our stomachs; we knew we had to redouble our efforts to bring him to justice."

Rojas said his family stayed in constant contact with police, providing information they thought relevant. He said the "relentless" efforts should serve as a model for other families of murder victims.

"It shows that if you work with authorities, and you're not afraid to come forward, you can get results," he said.

"You have to be courageous; you can't leave it up to police and say, 'Resolve this for us.' "

Rojas said his son - a hardworking Temple University student who had just made the honor roll - had no enemies. He said detectives working the case assured him that Alejandro had "done nothing wrong" on the night of his death.

But the man who is charged with killing him as he sat inside his Chevy Trailblazer is a different story.

Rivera has a long rap sheet, including prior convictions for drug offenses and weapons violations, court records show.

He remained in custody without bail last night.

 


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