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LCSO: Threats made by machete-wielding landlord lead to two arrests in Bonita Springs

LCSO Arson
Posted at 2:22 PM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 06:13:50-05

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla — On January 1st, 2023 the Lee County Sheriff's Office Deputies as well as the Bonita Springs Fire Control & Rescue District responded to a call on London Lane in Bonita.

This was an arson call however, upon arrival the deputies learned prior to the fire that a suspect was wielding a machete and threatening to kill people inside the residence.

It started with threats. Threats being made by a machete wielding landlord toward those living in this home. Those who live at the home speak limited english and declined to speak with us on camera. But they allowed us inside their home, where the events from Sunday still evident on the walls and the ceiling.

They walked us thru, from the front door where they say the landlord locked them in to the bedrooms where they were able to escape. Their words translated to us courtesy of a next-door neighbor who points out how fire alarms have been deliberately pulled out inside the home.

Before the fire, deputies say a suspect was wielding a machete and threatening the people inside. That neighbor told us it was an issue over money as the landlord had appeared multiple times before making similar threats.

We’re told one of the men living in the home was in a back room when he noticed a liquid seeping under the door. He says he recognized the smell as gasoline and immediately left the room thru the window, running around the house to grab a hose and douse the room. But it wasn’t enough to douse the flames as all 20 people who live at the home had to evacuate thru bedroom windows.

Burning many of their possessions, including documents and even leaving three people. Including — we’re told — first-degree and third-degree burns. Of those people injured one is still in the hospital being treated.

Meanwhile, the Lee County Sheriff’s office says Ulysses Rivera and Orlando Rivera are the two arrested. Neighbors identified Ulysses as the landlord and say Orlando is his uncle.

Someone sharing the same name as Riveria was listed as the owner of the property on the property appraiser's website.

The two suspects, Ulysses Rivera and Orlando Rivera were located by LCSO deputies in the neighborhood and were arrested. Ulysses Rivera has been charged with aggravated assault, arson, and three counts of battery. Orlando Rivera has been charged with arson and three counts of aggravated assault.