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Yakima County deputies arrest teen for killing dad

OUTLOOK, Wash. - A 43-year-old man was shot and killed by his son in Outlook Wednesday morning, according to the Yakima County Sheriff's Office. 

Benjamin Rodriguez, 19, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of his father, Jose Rodriguez. His bail was set at $250,000 in Yakima County Superior Court on Thursday. 

Around 11 a.m., deputies got a call from the 200 block of Tomlinson Road about an accidental shooting at the home.

When deputies arrived on scene, they found the suspect outside the home. He led the deputies to his father, who had a plastic bag over his head and what appeared to be a belt wrapped around his neck. 

A deputy found a "massive amount of blood within the bag and a gunshot wound to the face," court documents said. 

The deputy heard Jose gasp and ripped the bag off his face. Medics arrived shortly after and provided treatment before taking Jose to Sunnyside Hospital, where he later died. 

In an interview with the suspect, he told investigators that he and his father both lived at their grandparents' home on Tomlinson Road.  

He stated that his father had a long history of drug use that included heroin, pain pills and abusive behavior toward everyone who lived at the home. His grandparents, the victim's parents, confirmed this information.

On the day of the shooting, Benjamin said that his father was trying to open a small safe that contained his grandparents' medication while they were away. He used a big screwdriver but was unable to break it open, which reportedly sent him into a fit of rage, court documents said. 

Benjamin said his father took a dresser outside and started smashing it with a sledgehammer, then got a rifle from his grandparents' bedroom. According to court documents, Benjamin said he tried to calm down his father, but his father pointed the rifle at him and told him to call the police "so there could be a shootout."

The suspect said he was concerned that if he called police, there would be a shootout; but if he called his grandmother, she would get hurt. He said he went into his room and grabbed his own 22-caliber rifle, then went out on the porch where his father was shooting.

He said he "retrieved his rifle in hopes that it would deter his father in continuing with his out of control rage," court documents said. He said Jose looked at him with "blank eyes," then raised his rifle and pointed it at him. Benjamin said he also raised his rifle and shot his father, hitting him in the face.

The alleged victim immediately went limp, and Benjamin said he could not hear him breathing.

Court documents said he moved his father a few feet before covering him with an outdoor rug "so that the active orchard workers would not see."  He said he put a trash bag over his father's head to keep the blood from getting on the porch, then dragged his body to the garage. He said he used a belt around his father's neck to keep the bag from coming off.

Benjamin called his grandmother and told her what happened. She told him to call 911, Benjamin said his grandmother was the one who ended up calling.

After a long interview with detectives, Benjamin agreed to submit to a polygraph test and arranged for an examination.

Benjamin was booked at the Yakima County Jail on an investigative hold for first-degree murder.


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