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Military spouse sentenced for assaulting three airmen during New Year’s Eve dispute

A U.S. military dependent spouse is headed to prison for assaulting three airmen on Misawa Air Base in Japan, according to the Justice Department.

Rodrigo Pineda Gomez, 44, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison, after he was found guilty on charges connected to an assault on the airmen on New Years Eve in 2016. During the altercation, Gomez attempted to kill one of the airmen by trying to break his neck and smashing his head on the ground multiple times, according to the superseding indictment and evidence presented at trial.

Gomez, a jiujitsu instructor, also reportedly employed juijitsu techniques against the airmen, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. His sentencing comes after he was convicted by a federal jury in Arkansas on April 25.

Gomez was accompanied by his son Miguel Gomez at the time of the attack at Cafe Moketeki on the base. Video footage of the incident depicts the younger Gomez held one of the airmen in a leg lock as his father tried to snap one of the airmen’s necks and stamped on his head.

"You're lucky you're not facing life for killing someone on an air base," U.S. District Judge James Moody told Gomez Thursday, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

The altercation started after Gomez drunkenly headed into the restaurant and walked near the airmen as he was on the phone, prompting one of the airmen, Souleyman Dia, to ask why Gomez was standing so close to the group. Although the situation escalated and Gomez punched Dia in the face, customers intervened and prosecutors said Gomez and the airmen even engaged in a “group hug.”

But Gomez attacked Dia again and tried to break the airman’s neck after his wife, Air Force Maj. Eloise Gomez, entered the restaurant and started “throwing her weight around,” a prosecutor recounted. The fight was diffused after security forces removed Gomez from the situation and took him to a medical clinic to receive stitches.

According to the Justice Department, Gomez was found guilty on charges including one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter; one count of assault with a dangerous weapon; three counts of assault by striking, beating or wounding; one count of resisting a federal officer; and one count of making a false statement to law enforcement.

After Gomez serves 30 months behind bars, he will remain under supervised release.

Miguel Gomez, 21, was also sentenced to four years of probation. He previously pleaded guilty to an assault charge in April.

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