LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Air Force spouse accused of stomping on the head of a U.S. airman at Misawa Air Base in Japan has been convicted by a federal jury in Arkansas of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
Justice Department and Air Force officials said Thursday that 44-year-old Rodrigo Pineda Gomez, the husband of an Air Force major and a jiu-jitsu instructor, was also convicted of assault with a deadly weapon (his shod foot), three counts of misdemeanor assault; resisting a federal officer and making a false statement to law enforcement.
Officials say Gomez and his 21-year-old son, Miguel Gomez, assaulted three airmen on Misawa Air Base on New Year’s Eve in 2016.
Prosecutors allege Gomez had been drinking and was at Café Mokuteki, a coffee shop near Misawa’s flight line, at about 2:30 a.m.," according to a report in Stars and Stripes.
At some point, Gomez tripped and words were exchanged with four airmen at another table.
Gomez claimed in a written statement that one of the airmen tried to punch him and he was defending himself and his family.
But according to a court motion, security camera footage showed Gomez instigating the fight by hitting one airman in the back of the head, Stripes reported. Prosecutors said a 19-year-old airman, who tried to de-escalate the situation, was punched and knocked to the ground. Gomez’ son then put the airman in a leg lock and Gomez tried to snap his neck and later stomped on his head several times.
Two other airmen were punched in the melee.
After the incident, Gomez was barred from installations in Japan and Korea. The trial was held in Little Rock because Arkansas was Gomez’ last known address in the United States.
The Gomez family relocated to Colorado after the assignment in Japan, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
A sentencing date hasn’t been set.