A man accused of shooting his brother in southwest Houston has been in trouble before and jumped bail in that case.

Eric Rivera, 21, had been wanted for four years before police picked him up Wednesday morning. He faced a judge that night who considered both cases against him.

The 2019 case was just a misdemeanor, but it played a major role in the judge’s decision on bond for the new felony charge against Rivera.

With the help of a translator, Rivera appeared in court for two charges: misdemeanor assault from four years ago and felony aggravated assault from Wednesday morning.

Investigators said the El Salvador national was drunk and playing around with a gun when it went off at an apartment complex near West Bellfort and Kirkwood. A bullet hit his 18-year-old brother in the shin. His court-appointed attorney asked the judge for a low bond, saying there was no malicious intent in this case.

Before making a decision, the judge brought up the 2019 case. She asked why Rivera did not show up for court after being released from ICE custody. He claimed that he feared for his safety because his victim has gang ties. However, the judge didn’t buy that.

She set his bond at $35,000 for the felony and $200 for the misdemeanor, which is what the prosecution asked for. If he bonds out, Rivera will have to abstain from alcohol, drugs, and contact with his brother.

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