A Kendall, Fla., man who terrorized neighbors for years has been indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a man in an argument over dog poop.
A Miami-Dade grand jury on Wednesday indicted Omar Rodriguez, who police say shot and killed neighbor Jose Rey after saying Rey’s dog defecated on his son’s lawn.
Rodriguez, 66, is claiming self-defense. He had originally been charged with attempted murder as Rey fought for his life at Kendall Regional Medical Center. Rey succumbed to his wounds late last month.
“When all the facts are made known, this is a case about self-defense and the justifiable use of force,” his defense attorney, Alan Ross, said on Wednesday.
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Neighbors say the shooting was the culmination of years of stalking, threats and false allegations lobbed by Rodriguez against various residents in Kendall and Coral Gables. Though he has been arrested several times, Rodriguez has escaped any serious jail time over the years.
Since 2008, his neighbors have filed more than 140 complaints with police about Rodriguez’s behavior.
One Kendall neighbor accused Rodriguez of leaving dead kittens in her pool, while another claimed he falsely accused her of illegally neutering animals inside her home. Many neighbors say Rodriguez has verbally threatened and even followed them while they drive.
Over the years, Rodriguez has also filed numerous hand-written lawsuits against neighbors and even police officers, accusing them of defamation and other conspiracies. None have succeeded.
The latest flashpoint unfolded last month when police say Rey was walking his dog in front of Rodriguez’s son’s home. Rodriguez began following him in his car, then parked his car on a swale, flashed his lights and revved his engine before confronting Rey about the dog defecating on his son’s lawn, police said.
Rey took the dog home. By the time he returned, witnesses told police, Rodriguez had taken his shirt off and was ready for a fight. Police say he shot Rey three times as Rey raised his arms and backpedaled. When Rey’s wife tried to comfort her husband, witnesses told police Rodriguez threatened her, too.
But Rodriguez’s attorney insists that Rey started the argument and threatened Rodriguez with a knife, which was found on the scene.