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A DeBary man who had been living in a storage unit has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of a Deltona man who Volusia County sheriff’s deputies say was a childhood friend of his.

Julio Rivera, 48, was arrested Sunday night at the self-storage facility where the shooting happened, at 333 E. Highbanks Road in DeBary.

The victim is 40-year-old Roberto Miguel Ovalle of Deltona.

Deputies responded to the shooting around 7:15 p.m. Sunday, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Gant.

“The victim’s girlfriend told deputies she witnessed the shooting at 333 E. Highbanks, and that Rivera had shot her boyfriend in the head while the three of them were sitting inside the storage unit,” Gant said in a news release about the incident.

The girlfriend told deputies she immediately fled the storage unit, but Rivera followed her to her vehicle and accompanied her back to the victim’s home, saying he would protect her and her children, according to Gant.

“She took Rivera’s gun from him and went to gather her children. Rivera left and went back to the storage unit; the girlfriend then started running toward a friend’s home,” Gant said. “She was intercepted by responding deputies, and when Rivera arrived back at 333 E. Highbanks, he was met by deputies responding to the homicide scene.”

Rivera had a warrant out for his arrest related to a parole violation for a previous murder conviction in New York. Gant said deputies believe he was staying in the DeBary storage unit since October in an effort to avoid being arrested.

Rivera was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail overnight Sunday into Monday on a charge of first-degree murder, and on his open warrant out of New York.

As of Monday morning, he remained in custody with no bond.

Gant said a significant amount of marijuana — about 20 vacuum-sealed bags — as well as an unknown white powder and unknown brown substance, were recovered from the storage unit.

— Anthony DeFeo


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