YAKIMA A 19-year-old Outlook man is facing a first-degree murder charge for the shooting death of his father.
Benjamin D. Rodriguez made a preliminary appearance in Yakima County Superior Court on Thursday, April 11, for the April 10 homicide investigated by the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.
It is alleged Rodriguez shot his father, 43-year-old Jose Guadalupe Rodriguez Jr., intentionally at their home in the 200 block of Tomlinson Road in Outlook at about 11 a.m.
In a narrative submitted to the court, Benjamin told deputies Jose has a history of drug abuse and was attempting to break into a safe, which contained medications belonging to several family members.
Jose allegedly grew agitated and angry, smashing furniture before grabbing a rifle.
Benjamin told deputies he attempted to calm his father, who insisted he call authorities. He said his father wanted to instigate a shootout with law enforcement, according to court records.
Benjamin initially said he retrieved his own 22-caliber rifle, Jose pointed the one he possessed, and Benjamin responded by accidentally shooting Jose in the face.
That account changed later, when Benjamin was going to take part in a polygraph exam, records show. At that time, he admitted intending to shoot Jose to prevent a shootout with law enforcement.
Benjamin said he covered his father’s body with a rug after believing his father was no longer breathing because the incident happened outside, and he didn’t want those working in a nearby orchard to see.
After calling his grandmother to tell her about the shooting, she called 9-1-1.
In the meantime, Benjamin allegedly grabbed a large trash bag and placed it over his father’s head to avoid getting blood all over the porch on which the body lay, records show.
He allegedly told investigators the bag began coming off as he moved the body to the family’s garage, so he used a belt and wrapped it around the open end of the bag, around his father’s neck.
When deputies arrived, one reported hearing a gasp from Jose, and he removed the bag. Paramedics were called and transported Jose to the hospital in Sunnyside.
He died later that day as he was being stabilized for an airlift to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Yakima County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Casey Schilperoort said.
An autopsy was completed April 11, and it was determined he died from a single gunshot wound, Schilperoort said.
Benjamin’s arraignment is scheduled for April 25, and bail was set at $250,000.