published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Man jailed after accidentally shooting niece
AVON PARK -- A man who police say accidentally shot his 11-year-old niece in the arm Tuesday morning is in the Highlands County Jail facing three felony and two misdemeanor charges.
Police say 33-year-old Elvin Rodriguez first tried to cover up the incident by claiming it was a drive-by shooting, then claimed an intruder had walked into the home and fired the shots. Eventually, he reportedly admitted he had been drinking and accidentally fired two shots when he tripped while on a "security" check of the bedroom where his two nieces were asleep.
According to an Avon Park Police Department arrest report, the shooting at 112 N. Florida Ave. was called in to 911 at 2:45 a.m.
APPD Det. Chris Bates started his investigation at Florida Hospital-Heartland, where the girl had been taken after the shooting.
Bates reported that the girl's mother initially told him that she and her daughter were sitting outside Rodriguez's house so that the mother could smoke a cigarette when a car drove by and fired shots, hitting the girl in the arm.
Bates then went to the scene on Florida Avenue. While there, he got a call from the mother, who said she was scared and wanted to tell him the truth "for her daughter's sake," the report said.
The mother then told Bates that she and Rodriguez were sitting on the couch when Rodriguez got up "in a forceful way" and walked to the room where the victim and another 6-year-old girl were sleeping and fired multiple shots.
The mother said she went into the room and turned on the light to find "blood everywhere" and the victim yelling "Coco (Rodriguez), what did you do to me?"
Rodriguez reportedly tied a tourniquet around the girls' arm to stop the bleeding. He then told the mother to tell police that the shooting had been a drive-by, even telling her to say she had gone outside to smoke and the car had been a black Impala, the report said.
The mother said she did not want to get Rodriguez in trouble and that she thought he "forgot" his nieces were in the room and he shot because he was upset over an earlier fight with his girlfriend.
"Sis, I swear I didn't mean to do this, I just flipped out," Rodriguez reportedly told the mother. "I did not mean to shoot my niece."
The victim told Bates that she was asleep on the bed and that she "woke up screaming" and saw a lot of blood "pouring out" of her hand and ran outside, the report said. She also said her uncle told her "whatever you do, don't tell what really happened."
Bates then questioned Rodriguez about the incident. Rodriguez initially told Bates that a black Impala had driven by and someone had shot his niece. When Bates told him he knew that wasn't true, Rodriguez then reportedly told Bates that someone came into the home, walked into the bedroom where his nieces were sleeping and fired several shots. Rodriguez then said he shot at the intruder, who fled.
Inside the bedroom, Bates found two bullets that had been fired, but didn't see any blood on the tile floor or on the bed.
Bates said there was a clean comforter, but no sheets, on the bed. When he flipped over the mattress he found blood. Rodriguez then reportedly admitted that he cleaned up the blood and "got rid of the guns because he was scared," giving a .380-caliber pistol and a .40-caliber pistol to his brother, who took them to Rodriguez's mother's home.
Rodriguez has multiple felony convictions in New York and is not allowed to have a gun, Bates reported.
After being placed under arrest, Bates reported that Rodriguez admitted he had consumed eight or nine beers and had the .40-caliber pistol next to him. He said he got up to check the house for security and when he entered the bedroom where the girls were sleeping he tripped and accidentally fired twice.
The victim was struck in the right forearm, and the bullet exited her right triceps, Bates reported, causing multiple fractures to her elbow and leaving bullet fragments lodged in her arm. She was transported to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg where she will have surgery.
Rodriguez was charged with aggravated battery on a child, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and tampering with evidence -- all felonies. He was also charged with improper exhibition of a firearm and using a firearm under the influence of alcohol.
stop the lies (by: TheTruthHurts - 8/5/2012)
lieing for family members hurts everyone, including the family member you are lieing for. If the family member does something wrong once and gets in trouble ... the chances DECREASE that he will do something wrong again. It is a win-win solution for everyone. Please people .... don't wait until your family member has shot your kid before you decide to start reporting the truth. The shooter should have been giving TOUGH LOVE a long time ago by his family .... and the little girl would not had to suffer the bullet presently.
selfish, low-life uncle (by: iBELEIVE - 8/5/2012)
security check? sounds like he was doing more than drinking .... drug usage too. The mother of that child needs to stop being around criminals , including her brother ... for the kid's sake. Children's home environment is #1 in raising a happy and healthy child.
The kid (by: Misty - 8/5/2012)
In all I read after trying to clean up and cover up, when did they take time to call 911 to help the child as soon as they knew she was injured? Mom should have some charges for keeping her children as most important...
stupid (by: theone&only - 8/2/2012)
I'm sorry to say but I know this idiot..... I guess I wont be getting my child support $$ .... what am I talking about he haven't pay child support in years... stupid dumb retarded no good father...
hopeful (by: merc - 8/2/2012)
hopefully they can trace the serial #'s on these pistols and the police can trace it back to the idiot(s) that sold it to him. doesnt matter how hard of gun laws you have the ones who are not suppose to have them will always get them. it would be nice if there was a way those that wanted to sell a weapon to someone had a way to run a check on them from out of state. we cant put that kind of burden on our law officials, but we could have a datta base.
shooting (by: Sam the black man - 8/1/2012)
Welcome to Avon Park....................
Charges (by: Curious - 8/1/2012)
Is there a charge for being an idiot?
POS (by: sickened - 7/31/2012)
the mother should be placed in jail to and DCF needs to be involved.
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