Harris County jury to decide fate of man accused of 2019 road rage shooting that injured 2 toddlers

Friday, September 9, 2022
Suspect on trial for 2019 road rage shooting severely burning toddlers
Bayron Rivera was only 18 years old at the time of the incident. Now at 21, he could face up to 99 years in prison.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Harris County jury will now determine the fate of a 21-year-old man, who at just 18 years old was charged in a road rage shooting that severely burned two toddlers.

It was a haunting scene on July 4, 2019, as a family's truck became engulfed in flames with fireworks exploding inside while driving down Highway 249.

SEE ALSO: Suspect who shot into car carrying family of 4 and caused fireworks to go off surrenders, sheriff says

Other drivers stopped to help, rushing to save the two toddlers in their car seats.

"She just kept yelling, 'My baby, my baby,' and I said, 'Ma'am, we need to step away from the car because the car's going to blow up.' Probably, I say like two seconds after that, that's when fireworks started coming out," an eyewitness named Marquis, who spoke with ABC13 in 2019, said.

The brothers, 2-year-old Messiah Smith and 1-year-old Bentley Smith, were rescued and suffered severe burns.

Their father, Reginald Smith, was also burned.

The boys spent weeks in the hospital, with their little bodies undergoing surgery after surgery.

"I've been grateful, but it's been painful," Jasmine Wolford, the boys' mother previously told ABC13. "I'm just happy because they're here."

The children made a remarkable physical recovery, but the family's fight is not over.

The man accused of sparking that car fire is now on trial.

Bayron Rivera was just 18 years old at the time. He's accused of shooting at the family's truck, and was upset after being cut off.

Investigators said the gunfire set off a chain reaction as fireworks were sparked and exploded with the family trapped in the vehicle.

Rivera, now 21, is facing a list of charges, including injury to a child and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Rivera was also charged while in jail for possession of a shank.

Both parents testified during the trial as their sons spent the day with family in the courthouse.

Rivera could face up to 99 years in prison.

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