Police make 2nd arrest in dying man's robbery

PHILADELPHIA - December 4, 2009

In custody are: /*Richard Alten*/, 44, and the new arrest - /*Martin Smith*/, 41. Both men are homeless according to police.

On Thursday, December 3, 2009, at about 3 p.m. police got a tip that a man fitting the description of one of the suspects in the robbery was on the 5100 block of Penn Street. Investigators responded to Penn Street and took Smith into custody without incident.

Smith's only excuse Friday was that he did not /*Joaquin Rivera*/ was dead when he and the others took his watch.

"I don't know, I was trying to steal, I guess. I didn't know the man was dying," Smith said. To the family, he replied, "I'm sorry. I didn't know he was deceased."

Alten, whose last known address is Port St. Lucie, Florida, was arrested in the hospital shortly after the incident because he was receiving treatment there.

Rivera was a well known leader in the Puerto Rican community. With his skillful artistry as a musician and long track record in the community, Rivera was easily the most frequent guest on 6abc's Puerto Rican Panaroma.

"He was also someone who was very active in a number of community based organizations, always fighting to insure that Latino's were and are part of the Philadelphia landscape," said Wilfredo Rojas.

"Let me tell you this guy was great, a great loss, great great loss," said Oscar Rosario who was a close friend.

The story of Joaquin Rivera is portrayed in a mural at 5th and Somerset. He moved here from Puerto Rico when he was 18-years-old. He worked at a factory while going to night school to learn English and complete his GED. Late he studied at community college and Rutgers. For the last 30 years he was a counselor at Olney High School and his family says his second home was the church.

"He was a great man, I can honestly say I've never met a man like him, he's the greatest person I've ever known, I don't think he was a man, I consider him a saint," said Joaquin Rivera Jr.

Tragically, Rivera Sr., who suffered from high blood pressure, experienced chest pains Saturday night and walked himself two blocks to the emergency room of Aria Health Frankford Hospital.

But that is not how Rivera's family wants him to be remembered.

"I want him to be remembered for what he did to preserve the Puerto Rican culture in Philadelphia. That was his idea that every kid born knew his roots," said is wife Maria.

While the police investigation is ongoing, a viewing was held at Givnish Funeral Home on Red Lion Road Friday nightand another viewing and funeral Mass will take place Saturday morning at St. Ambrosio Catholic Church at 6th and Venango.

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