Man killed by South Omaha homeowner was business owner, family man

Paul Rivas

Family and friends say the Raul Rivas they knew was an upstanding business owner and family man.

He never would have broken into a stranger's home like a common criminal, they said.

Rivas, 43, was shot and killed late Thursday after he went to house at 1607 Drexel St. The homeowner, David Erives, told others that he didn't know the man at his back door. But his wife, Lydia, apparently knew Rivas from her work as a cocktail waitress at a Council Bluffs casino.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Friday that Erives, 29, would not be charged, and that the shooting appeared to be justified as an act of self-defense. The case continues to be investigated.

Rivas' best friend, Ernesto Santos of Omaha, said Monday that Rivas never mentioned Lydia. But the family believes he did know the woman. He sometimes went to the casinos in Council Bluffs, Santos said.

The family also said Rivas would never enter a home uninvited, Santos said.

“He's not an intruder,” Santos said. “To be an intruder implies someone is robbing a house.”

Rivas was married, and had three sons: Carlos, 19; Raul, 17 and Alexander, 12. Rivas' wife, Ana, was planning his funeral Monday.

“He was a good guy,” Carlos Rivas said. “He was the best dad.”

Santos said Rivas owned a tree-trimming business and supervised about a half-dozen employees.

Rivas' family and friends are disappointed that Erives appears not to face charges in the death. They said they are hoping to learn more about that night from police. “Nobody but Raul knows what happened, or why he went there,” Santos said. “It's indescribable what his family is going through.”

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