Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Public safety

Hillsborough deputies make arrest in fatal double stabbing

TAMPA — Deputies arrested a man Sunday evening in the stabbing death last week of Ovidio Sanchez, whose body was found in a drainage ditch.

Deputies say Gabriel Rivera-Pagan, 24, of Tampa stabbed Sanchez on Dec. 23 after he and Luis Rivers, 19, a friend of Rivera-Pagan's, got into an argument over $10 worth of marijuana at Angel's Smoke Shop, 4040 W Waters Ave.

Sanchez, 45, confronted Rivers, demanding money, investigators said. During the dispute, Sanchez pulled a knife and stabbed Rivers twice in the chest, deputies said.

Rivers, covered in blood, stumbled into a nearby 7-Eleven store, asking for an ambulance. He was treated at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Detectives said Rivera-Pagan, who witnessed the attack, then stabbed Sanchez multiple times, telling witnesses beforehand, "I'm gonna get him, I'm gonna get him, I'm gonna get him."

Sanchez's body was found in a ditch at W Waters and N Lois avenues. A rescue unit tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

Rivera-Pagan faces a charge of first-degree murder with a weapon. State records show Rivera-Pagan has been imprisoned twice on charges that include grand theft and trafficking in stolen property. He was last released in March.

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