Man arrested for stabbing at Casa Rica

COURTESY PHOTO Elmer Miranda-Depaz

A Flanders man is being held at the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside after failing to post $100,000 bail for stabbing and critically injuring a Riverhead man during an altercation at Casa Rica Restaurant and Sports Bar on East Main Street in Riverhead early Tuesday morning.

Elmer Miranda-Depaz, 28, appeared before Town Justice Richard Ehlers this morning wearing a white paper jumpsuit and yellow paper covering on his feet. Riverhead Detective Sergeant Robert Loggia said police took Mr. Miranda-Depaz clothes for evidence.

An attorney representing Mr. Miranda-Depaz requested a lower bail explaining that his client worked construction jobs and would not have the money needed. Mr. Miranda-Depaz is due back in court Wednesday.

The victim, identified as 35-year-old Hugo Alberto, was taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. He is listed in critical condition.

Police said the two men, who were acquaintances, got into an altercation shortly before 2 a.m. at the restaurant when Mr. Miranda-Depaz pulled out an 8-inch knife and stabbed Mr. Alberto in the upper torso several times. Police could not say how many times Mr. Alberto was stabbed. Det. Sgt. Loggia said police did not know what sparked the fight because they have not yet spoken to the victim.

Following the stabbing, witnesses then followed Mr. Miranda-Depaz out of the bar and were able to point him out to police, authorities said.

A cleaning crew was spotted outside the bar about 8 a.m. this morning, according to Raymond Pickersgill, president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District and owner of the nearby Robert James Salon.

Mr. Pickersgill said he is fed up with the bar and the recurrent crime it brings downtown.

“I would love to see them move,” he said. “It’s not right for here. It just brings a bad element.”

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter was reportedly at the scene this morning and had vowed to report the establishment to the New York State Liquor Authority. Mr. Walter did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

In August, the State liquor authority raided Casa Rica and charged owner Carlos Moreno-Bonilla for not conforming to government regulations regarding security guards and also for failing to adhere to building codes and fire regulations.

Mr. Morena-Bonilla was also arrested for employing unlicensed security guards in June.

In addition to the stabbing, Riverhead Police responded to Casa Rica several other times over the weekend.

On Saturday, Hugo Vargas, 21, of Riverhead was arrested there about 1 a.m. and charged with third-degree robbery, town police said. No additional information was available. On Sunday, town police said Hermelindo Mayan-Carias, 41, of Flanders was arrested near the restaurant about 1 a.m. and charged with public urination.

Police were called to the establishment for disturbances three additional times on Sunday night, though no arrests were made.

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This post was originally published Oct. 19, 2010

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