‘I was beside myself’: Mother, girlfriend of CATS bus driver Ethan Rivera react to murder suspect’s arrest

Rivera’s family is grateful for an arrest but demand safety changes for CATS operators and justice for Ethan.
All said they were thankful for an arrest but also are desperate for safety changes from CATS.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 5:40 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - After an 18-day, cross-country manhunt, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police announced Darian Thavychith, the suspect in the killing of CATS bus driver Ethan Rivera, was found and taken into custody Tuesday.

Tuesday night, Rivera’s mother, girlfriend and close friend talked about the arrest.

Related: CMPD: Suspect arrested in Kansas in murder of CATS bus driver Ethan Rivera

“I was beside myself. I was so happy that I was trembling,” said Sylvia Aponte, Rivera’s mother, after learning Thavychith was caught. “He had malice on his mind. How do you get from an argument to shooting somebody? That’s not human. That’s inhuman.”

Despite the arrest, his family knows it doesn’t change what’s been done.

“It’s hard because you don’t get to see a person laugh no more. You don’t get to hug that person anymore. You don’t get to talk to them anymore,” Aponte said.

“His loved ones, his friends, his brother, none of us will ever get him back. His children will never get him back,” lamented Azuree Purcell, Ethan’s girlfriend of eight years.

Rivera’s family and friends will remember him as a loving friend and family man who called his grandmother every Monday, was a big New York Giants fan, and cherished every moment with his 10- and 14-year old kids.

“He was a standup guy,” said close friend Clifford Jean-Baptiste. “I love him and he will truly be missed.”

Each person WBTV spoke with said, moving forward, they want an appropriate sentence for Thavychith and more security and safety measures for CATS bus drivers like Rivera.

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