Omar Rodriguez drove his car up and down the Kendall street where his son lives and he stared at Jose Rey. Then he parked on the swale and flashed his headlights.
A few minutes later, a shirtless Rodriguez, 66, was threatening to throw punches. But fists didn’t fly. Instead, police said, Rodriguez walked to his car, got a gun, and fired two rounds into Rey’s mid-section.
When Rey’s wife, Lissette, tried to comfort her husband, witnesses said Rodriguez threatened her, too.
Rodriguez is now in jail, charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was denied bond on Tuesday and will remain in jail.
Jose Rey is in Kendall Regional Medical Center, in critical condition, with stomach and spinal injuries, relatives said.
Rodriguez told police he was upset that Rey was walking his dog near the front lawn of his son’s home. He said he believed the dog would defecate on the property. Witnesses told police that Rodriguez did not like people walking on the sidewalk in front of his son’s home.
According to police and witness accounts, Rey and his wife were walking their dog and speaking with a man named Hector Serpa after 9 p.m. Saturday near the corner of Southwest 97th Street and 103rd Avenue, when Rey left the group to bring his dog home. That’s when Serpa noticed Rodriguez — a man he claimed to have had several encounters with in the past — driving up and down the street.
When Rodriguez finally parked his car in the swale, he flashed his lights and revved his engine, Serpa told police.
A few moments later, after Serpa had returned to his yard, he told police he heard Rodriguez and Rey arguing. When he got to the scene, Serpa said he saw Rey put his hands in the air and begin to back away before Rodriguez fired two rounds into Rey, who collapsed. While Serpa was on the phone with police, he said he heard Rodriguez threaten Lissette Rey after she went to help her husband.
Lissette Rey, who couldn’t be reached Monday, works in the event marketing department for the Miami Herald.
While in custody, police said Rodriguez said the fight started when “Rey’s dog was attempting to defecate.” According to police, Rodriguez said while the two men argued, Rodriguez thought he saw Rey with something shiny in his hand.
So Rodriguez “took a firearm out of the glove compartment, racked a round into the chamber, and pointed the weapon at Mr. Rey. Mr. Rey came closer which prompted Mr. Rodriguez to discharge his firearm,” according to the arrest affidavit.
Rodriguez is well-known to neighbors and police. Several neighbors say he’s been a nuisance for more than a decade, often handling weapons in plain view, tying up people with lawsuits, and attorneys with bar complaints.
Rodriguez, who lives near Miami Dade College's Kendall campus, is familiar in his son's neighborhood because Rodriguez often calls police to file complaints. According to Miami-Dade police, he has called police more than 90 times on neighbors.
“He calls the cops on us when we park on the sidewalk,” Robert Warmington told CBS4.
“He’s done everything from calling police on neighbors, code enforcement on neighbors, yelling at old ladies walking down the sidewalk, yelling at them, cursing,” said Robert Suarez, who lives in the neighborhood.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show Rodriguez’s run-ins with the law began back in 1970. That year Rodriguez was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and resisting arrest by Miami-Dade police. The charges were dropped. In 1994, he was booked by the same agency on aggravated battery charges against a police officer. He pleaded guilty.
In 1999, Coral Gables police charged Rodriguez with cruelty toward a child, and a year later he was charged with stalking by Pinecrest police. That charge was dropped.