Police in Florida believe they prevented the slayings of four people when they arrested a violent repeat felon, with a rap sheet that includes 19 years for murder, who allegedly kidnapped his ex-girlfriend after she broke up with him.
Dax Rodriguez, 52, intended to kill his ex-girlfriend, her sister and brother-in-law, and his ex-wife so he could get custody of his kids, said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey at a news conference Friday.
Rodriguez was arrested after the Wednesday incident in Titusville, 50 miles east of Orlando. Authorities said he was booked without bail into the Brevard County jail on charges including kidnapping and armed burglary.
“What started out as an armed kidnapping and then turned into an armed carjacking actually was, by design from the suspect, supposed to be the murder of four individuals,” said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey. “He is a very violent individual who is now sitting in the Bevard County Jail. And when I say violent, I mean violent. This individual is a repeat offender, a repeat felon offender who actually did 25 years in New York prison for second-degree murder.”
Rodriguez was sentenced to 25 years for second-degree murder in New York, serving 19 years in prison from 1993 to 2012 before being paroled, Department of Corrections records show.
The suspect was currently on probation in Seminole County stemming from a conviction for cocaine possession and DUI and, at the time of the incident, was wearing a GPS ankle monitor, Ivey said.
It started around 4 p.m. Wednesday when the police received a frantic 911 call about an attempted kidnapping, officials said. The violence was sparked after the victim told the suspect they were breaking up, the sheriff said.
He allegedly broke into the house and took his ex at gunpoint. During a struggle, he told her he would kill her, her sister and her brother-in-law, then go to Seminole County to kill his ex-wife and take his children for whom he had an active restraining order before leaving the state of Florida and disappearing, the sheriff said.
The sheriff said the ex-girlfriend escaped into the house and locked the garage and back doors while he was in the garage, getting duct tape and cable to tie the intended victims up. As Rodriguez went around to the back of her house to try and break in, the ex-girlfriend ran to a neighbor’s home for help.
While setting up the perimeter, authorities got a call about 4:36 p.m. from someone who had been carjacked. Rodriguez had approached a man working in a yard, held him at gunpoint, demanded his cellphone and the keys to his Toyota RAV4 and drove off, police said.
Police found him and began a pursuit that exceeded 100 mph at times. He avoided spike strips twice before the chase ended when a police officer hit the vehicle, causing it to flip numerous times, and come to a rest sitting upright, the sheriff said.
Rodriguez didn’t go into custody easily.
“He was initially resistant,” the sheriff said.
Rodriguez was sitting on the gun with both hands under him and refused numerous commands, police said. He eventually complied and was taken out of the vehicle at gunpoint.
Rodriguez was booked into the Brevard County Jail on a long list of charges that included armed burglary, kidnapping, violation of probation, fleeing and attempting to elude, criminal mischief, aggravated assault, domestic violence with a deadly weapon and grand theft of a vehicle.
“This was a very violent individual, and everything in this investigation tells us that he was going to carry out his mission of killing these four people,” Ivey said.
The sheriff said that on his phone, he had the GPS coordinates to the location of his ex-wife in Seminole County so he could immediately go there, bind her with cable and duct tape and kill her.
“You look at these charges, this individual will be in prison for the rest of his life,” he said. “Quite frankly, he probably should have been in prison already for the rest of his life, but he was let back out of society.”
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