Man sentenced to 20 years for killing 2 in 2021 Salem cantina shooting

A Marion County Circuit Court judge on Nov. 17 sentenced a man to 20 years in prison for fatally shooting two men in 2021 in a northeast Salem bar.

A grand jury indicted Nivardo Ramirez-Monge, 23, in July 2021 on two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Jose P. Arrevalo, 27 and Erlin A. Rivas-Lopez, 29. Both victims were Salem residents.

Ramirez-Monge, a resident of Lafayette in Yamhill County, pleaded guilty on Oct. 6 to two counts of first-degree manslaughter. The legal distinction from the original charge is that he did not intend to kill the victims but did so “recklessly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,” according to a new indictment filed the same day as his plea.

Ramirez-Monge shot the men after he got into an altercation with Arrevalo. The other victim, Rivas-Lopez was a bystander uninvolved in the altercation, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Marion County Circuit Judge Courtland Geyer also sentenced Ramirez-Monge to three years of post-prison supervision. He can receive credit for time served.

The shooting occurred on July 9, 2021, at the Capital Cantina, 1486 Hawthorne Ave. N.E.

Earlier in the night, a stranger struck Ramirez-Monge on the back of his head with a bottle “for no apparent reason,” his attorney wrote in a sentencing memorandum. After remaining at the bar for some time, he went to the bathroom to find his relative so they could leave.

In the bathroom, he got in an altercation with Arevalo, who was using the urinal. Witnesses said Arevalo turned toward Ramirez-Monge, who then brandished a gun, prosecutors said in their court filing. 

His attorney argued that there were contradictions in witness statements about whether the altercation was verbal or physical, and that there was a dispute about whether Ramirez-Monge felt threatened immediately before the shooting.

“Multiple shots were fired. Mr. Arevalo was struck four times. Mr. Rivas-Lopez, who was using a stall in the bathroom and was uninvolved in the altercation, was struck once. Both died as a result of the gunshot wounds,” according to prosecutors’ memorandum.

Salem police identified Ramirez-Monge as a suspect in the shooting and determined he was in Nevada during their investigation, according to a news release at the time. Nevada authorities arrested him ten days after the shooting in Tonopah, Nevada.

Before his sentencing, Ramirez-Monge wrote letters to the victims’ families in which he apologized and said he never intended to kill anyone.

“I ask for your forgiveness for this wrongdoing I have caused against you. Although I may never receive it, that does not take away from all the regret and shame for all the hurt I have caused you all,” he wrote in one letter. “I extend my deepest condolences to you and your family and I sincerely hope you find healing and feel that justice has been served when this is all said and done.”


Salem police arrest suspect in cantina shooting

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.