Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dad arrested after shooting 17-year-old son in the head; boy had tried to stop dad from assaulting mom (Orange County, Florida)

This is the reality of how domestic violence works, especially in Florida. Your husband (in this case RAFAEL RODRIQUEZ) is a controlling, alcoholic, violent freak? Too bad for you! You will be blamed and punished every step of the way, NOT the abuser. You can't prosecute because the state attorney's office will label your case "not suitable for prosecution," no matter what the evidence. So what's the point of angering your abuser even more? But of course, the media will be glad to point out that you "did not want to prosecute," without EVER pointing out why (and 9 times out of 10, it's NOT because you still wuv the guy.) Oh, and the media will also explain attempted murder on the part of your abuser by linking it to a "heated argument" between the two of you--as if arguments or disagreements routinely lead to attempted murder. Just another way of deflecting responsibility from the would-be killer and actual criminal perpetrator onto the victim. Of course.

And then there's CPS. Despite the fact that this mom showed TRUE COURAGE--she actually managed to wrestle the gun away from her husband and got the kids out of the house safely--she is NOT being treated as a hero. A cop or a man would be getting a medal for managing this. But not this mom. On the contrary, CPS is now taking her kids away. Why? Because she didn't let Daddy kill all of them? In fact the only reason she is NOT dead is that Daddy's gun misfired when he aimed at her. Sick world.

Dad arrested in Orange County shooting, kids in custody, police say
Orange County Jail
By Amy L. Edwards and Walter Pacheco

Orlando Sentinel

Updated: 9:19 a.m. Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Posted: 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In May 2009, Valerie Rodriguez told Ocoee police her husband, after a day of heavy drinking, choked her unconscious, struck her in the head, and rammed a gun into her left eye.

On Saturday, Rodriguez told police her husband once again pointed a gun at her after she said he spent another day drinking.

This time, police say, Rafael Rodriguez fired a shot from his gun - one that struck their 17-year-old son in the head after he tried to help his mother.

An Orange County judge on Monday ordered that Rafael Rodriguez remain jailed with no bail on charges of attempted first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.

Also on Monday, the Department of Children and Families took custody of two of the couple's children, including the teen who was shot in the ear, said Carrie Hoeppner, spokeswoman for the child-welfare agency.

A judge granted the state permission Sunday to take custody of the Rodriguez children, and DCF staff told Valerie Rodriguez that at the hospital while her son was being treated, Hoeppner said.

Knowing DCF would take custody of her son and daughter, Valerie Rodriguez left the hospital with her injured son before the state agency could take custody.

DCF officials couldn't find her, so they filed a missing-persons report with the Orlando Police Department. By Monday afternoon, Valerie Rodriguez was in communication with DCF staff and later in the day, her children were placed into DCF custody, Hoeppner said.

Saturday's incident started after a heated argument between the husband and wife at their Palastro Way home. Rafael Rodriguez drank heavily that day and became intoxicated and argumentative, an arrest report said.

He got a.22-caliber semi-automatic pistol, pointed it at his wife and pulled the trigger, but it didn't fire. Rodriguez then struck his wife in the side of her head with the handgun, the arrest report said.

Their son, Alexis Rodriguez, tried to break up the fight, the report said. That's when Rafael Rodriguez pointed the gun at the teen and fired a shot, striking him in the head.

Valerie Rodriguez told Ocoee police she wrestled the gun away from her husband, took her children and left the house.

Rafael Rodriguez also left the house after the shooting and was found passed out on the side of the road near Apopka about 12:40 a.m. Sunday, records show.

Alexis was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Ocoee police said. It's unclear whether his mother or a rescue crew drove him to the hospital.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Orange County, where DCF officials will discuss the Rodriguez case with a judge. Some of the options for the children that could be discussed: They could remain in DCF custody, they could return home, or they could go to a relative's home.

"We are hopeful that they'll be fully cooperative with us as we navigate through this investigation," Hoeppner said.

Rafael Rodriguez prior arrest

Rafael Rodriguez was arrested after the May 1, 2009 incident, which also occurred at their home in the Westyn Bay subdivision.

In that case, Ocoee police arrested him on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, domestic battery by strangulation and domestic violence battery.

Court records show Valerie Rodriguez did not want to prosecute and the State Attorney's Office didn't file charges.

The case was "not suitable for prosecution," court records show.

Orlando Sentinel staff writer Sara K. Clarke contributed to this story.