An arrest has been made in the July 19 punching of the owner of Sandy’s muffuletta shop, and the 30-year-old suspect has previous arrest warrants for sexual battery and gun charges.
Even in a city where petty crime runs fairly rampant, the July 19 assault on Sandy’s muffuletta shop owner Peterson Harter drew an exceptional amount of concern and outrage. That’s partly because the highly anticipated Sandy’s had only been open for three months before this incident where Harter confronted a man who was urinating on his trash cans, only to be viciously sucker-punched. And it’s also partly because Harter posted a highly emotional (and now-deleted) Instagram post, with a visible shiner on his eye, saying, “I'm really frustrated. I hope that something will come of this. At least I hope they find the guy and I'm really mad right now.”
A male victim sustained serious injuries after 30 yo. Irvin Lara Rivera struck the victim's face during a verbal altercation. Rivera fled the scene on foot. Thanks to @SFPDMission officers, Rivera is now in custody. ➡️ https://t.co/AWOPRSDFzD pic.twitter.com/NtdQCpE3pA— San Francisco Police (@SFPD) August 1, 2023
Two weeks later, it appears they have found the guy. The Chronicle picked up this Tuesday afternoon announcement from SFPD that they arrested a suspect in this attack, and apparently it’s not this fellow’s first allegation of violent crime.
“Through the course of the investigation San Francisco Police investigators identified the suspect as 30-year-old male, Irvin Lara Rivera,” SFPD announced in a Tuesday press release. “On Saturday, July 29, 2023, at approximately 11:15 am Mission Station officers on patrol observed Rivera on 18th and San Carlos streets. These officers recognized Rivera from the crime bulletin and other arrest warrants unrelated to the Haight Street attack.”
Yes, Rivera has priors. While he was arrested for battery in the alleged sandwich shop attack, he also has previous warrants for sexual battery, possessing a firearm while prohibited from doing so, and making criminal threats. Some of those charges were from Napa, but Rivera is now in SF County Jail.
“I’m just happy to know he’s off the streets not terrorizing anyone else at this time,” Harter told the Chronicle via text, adding that he was grateful for the community support he and the shop had received over the last two weeks.
While an arrest has been made, this remains an active investigation. If you have any information on this incident, you’re asked to call the SFPD tip line at 415-575-4444, or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with “SFPD.” Tipsters can remain anonymous.
Image: Google Street View