Saturday, February 7, 2004

St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune of February 5, 2004

Parish leader greets burglar with shotgun

St. Bernard Parish President Henry "Junior" Rodriguez, the victim of two recent burglaries at a house he has been renovating for years near his home, decided he was going to be ready to act in case of a third break-in.

Keeping a loaded shotgun near his bed, his chance came early Saturday.

Rodriguez, awakened at 4:30 a.m. by an alarm tripped by a motion detector he'd put in the vacant house, confronted a man he recognized carrying a vacuum cleaner out of the house.

When the man threw the vacuum at Rodriguez and fled, the parish president fired one shotgun blast into the ground and another into the air, according to a police report of the incident.


Rodriguez, who said he flashed a light at the man as he was coming out of the house and got a good look at him, told sheriff's deputies he was Rodney Sanchez, 48, who lives near Rodriguez on Bayou Road at Verret in eastern St. Bernard Parish.

"I've known him since he was a kid," Rodriguez said.

An arrest warrant on a charge of simple burglary has been issued for Sanchez, 3762 Bayou Road, said Maj. John Doran, Sheriff's Office chief of detectives. Sanchez has a record of 14 felony arrests and six convictions, Doran said.

Doran also said Rodriguez didn't break any law when he fired the shotgun "as far as we are concerned." Doran said, "You have every right to defend yourself" during a home burglary, adding that no shots were fired at the fleeing man.

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