Rodriguez detained in Mexico, arrested by SPPD in Bryant homicide
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: September 13, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
A murder suspect who reportedly vowed not to be arrested without a fight and his suspected accomplice were arrested at the border by Santa Paula Police after they were detained separately in Mexico earlier this week, according to a police official.
Although police have determined that Melissa Salazar, 35, was not an accomplice in the July 17 slaying of Angela Bryant, Police Chief Steve McLean said her arrest as well as the taking into custody Andres Rene Rodriguez as the main suspect, “Leaves us now with three to go” in the pursuit of suspects in three other homicides.
Lt. Ish Cordero said Rodriguez, 28, of Oxnard, was arrested for outstanding felony warrants for assault with a deadly weapon and parole violation.
During the investigation into murder of 33-year-old Bryant, who was found shot and near death at home at the 600 block of Ojai Road by the residence’s owner, SPPD Detectives “had developed information that possibly connected Rodriguez with some involvement to the homicide.”
Cordero said, “Since the date of the homicide, SPPD Detectives were actively searching for Rodriguez,” who was also wanted by Oxnard Police for attempted murder and other charges.
“At the time of arrest, Rodriguez had also been placed under arrest for the homicide but no charges have yet been filed,” pending review of the case by the District Attorney’s Office.
McLean said Rodriguez was taken into custody by Mexican National Police Tuesday and Salazar captured Wednesday; both were handed over separately to SPPD Sr. Officer Allen Macias, “At the border; he brought them back to Santa Paula and booked them,” before they were transported to Ventura County Jail.
Salazar, said McLean, was booked on felony warrants related to narcotics and not for the homicide.
Cordero said questioning of Salazar led to the determination by investigators that she was not an an accomplice in the homicide.
“Iinitially investigators believed she had some sort of involvement but further investigation revealed that although present, she was not involved.
“That was one reason why we wanted to speak to her to begin with to determine if she had any involvement,” in the death of Bryant, who had small children.
With the arrests, “That chapter is closed with those two,” said Cordero.
Rodriguez was arrested on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and owning or possessing a firearm as a felon or addict and his combined bail is $2.3 million, according to records. However, he cannot be released because of the Post Release Offender Supervision Hold (PROSHD).
Rodriguez in 2004 spent time in state prison in Lancaster for robbery, false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance. Paroled in 2007, he committed a new crime and returned to prison in 2009 for assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Rodriguez was released back to Ventura County in January 2012 and put under probation supervision. According to Oxnard Police, he was released from custody in April under the Post Release Offender Program.
“Rodriguez is a violent criminal,” and now with his arrest McLean said, “A lot of people will sleep better.”
Law enforcement agencies throughout Ventura County had scrambled on several occasions when they received tips that Rodriguez was in the area including at a Camarillo drug store where someone reported they recognized the fugitive’s distinctive Oxnard gang tattoo on his bald head.
While on the run Rodriguez let his hair grow to cover the tattoo, an effort to disguise himself.
He appeared in court Wednesday where the judge set three different dates in connection with four different cases against him. Rodriguez will appear in court Friday in connection with the Santa Paula murder case.
He also has a court date September 18th in connection with an attempted murder case in Oxnard where he is charged with shooting a man who survived other charges including being a felon in possession of a gun.
Finally, Rodriguez is also due back in court on October 10 in connection with the 2009 felony assault case in which he was convicted and released early from prison under the state’s realignment program.
McLean said the arrest “Sends two messages: if you commit a homicide anywhere in Ventura County the full resources of local, state and federal authorities will search for you ... if you’re a gang member the entire team is going to chase and capture you.”