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DPS Report: Victims of Taft shooting were uninvited guests at toddler’s birthday party

Posted at 4:31 PM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 19:21:52-04

A police affidavit sheds more information on this weekend’s deadly shooting at a toddler’s birthday party in Taft.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by KRIS 6 News, on Oct. 13, 2018, a witness told a Texas Ranger he was celebrating his nephew’s 1-year-old birthday party at a home at the 500 block of Wilber.

During that time, Juan Sandoval aka Juan Espinosa drove past the home. The report indicates that Sandoval had been accused by a family member of the witness of being a “peeping tom” and looking in a window at that home.

According to the witness, Ronnie Rodriguez, Jr. began yelling at Juan Sandoval and asking him why he was there. Both men then began arguing when Sandoval drove off in a red Ford pickup.

Five minutes later, Sandoval returned to the home with four of his family members, Jeremy Sandoval, Nicky Sandoval,  Juan Sandoval, Jr. and Juan Sandoval, III.

The men walked to the back of the home where they confronted Rodriguez and his father, Ronnie Rodriguez, Sr. The witness says both groups began to argue when Ronnie Rodriguez, Jr. pulled out a handgun from his back waistline and fired a shot toward the group.

No one was hit but the witness, according to Ronnie Rodriguez, Sr., took the gun from his son and began firing at the group. The group took down Ronnie, Sr. but he continued firing. He struck all five men with four of them dying at the scene. The fifth was taken to a Corpus Christi hospital for medical treatment.

Ronnie Rodriguez, Jr. was arrested early Sunday morning. He’s facing a charge of deadly conduct discharging firearm. Rodriguez, Jr.’s bond was set at $50,000. He was released on bond Sunday.

Ronnie Rodriguez Jr. was released from jail Sunday after posting bonds totaling $50,000 after he was arrested in connection with a shooting in Taft on Saturday. (San Patricio County Jail)

U.S. Marshals arrested his father, Ronnie Rodriguez, Sr. at a McAllen hotel yesterday. His bond has been set at $1 million.


Read the full arrest affidavit here