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Man kills self after wounding 2

TAMPA — Allen Rodriguez had his heart broken before. On his MySpace page, he bewailed an ex-girlfriend who dumped him after a two-year relationship.

The 26-year-old apparently couldn't bear to have it happen again.

Rodriguez of Tampa was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Tuesday, two hours after authorities said he opened fire on a woman he was courting and one of her co-workers at a South Tampa fast-food restaurant.

The shootings came after Rodriguez and Cassandra Gorham, 21, of Seffner got into an argument Monday night, Tampa police said. Gorham and another employee at the Sonic Drive-In at 4411 W Gandy Blvd., Michael Stephens, 24, of Tampa, sustained injuries that weren't life-threatening.

Weeks before, Rodriguez laid bare his heart on his social-networking profile, lamenting his difficult recovery after breaking up with his longtime girlfriend. While investigators said the precise nature of Rodriguez's relationship with Gorham was unclear, in recent weeks, it looked as if he may had found a new love.

Rodriguez of 4221 La Palma Court was like many 20-somethings. He wrote in Internet shorthand and liked playing computer games and watching music videos.

But he also said he hoped to start a family someday, hoped to meet someone he could not only love, but trust, too. Writing online in response to a question about whom he would like to meet, he said he yearned for someone "who won't lie, cheat or just up and leave me after two (expletive) years of loyalty."

Gorham, for a time, seemed like she might be that person. A 2005 graduate of Armwood High School, she described herself as a "big people person" on her MySpace page and professed her love for rock 'n' roll and muscle cars, her aspiration to someday become a professional photographer.

A witness told investigators Tuesday that Gorham and Rodriguez were dating, said Andrea Davis, a spokeswoman for Tampa police. Online, Rodriguez flirted with her, sending her a virtual bouquet of roses on July 17.

"Just call me Mr. Smitten," he wrote.

Then something went awry. Monday night, Rodriguez went to the fast-food restaurant and got into an argument with Gorham, according to police. Before 2 a.m., he returned with a handgun and shot several people sitting in cars in the parking lot, wounding Gorham and Stephens. They were in stable condition late Tuesday at Tampa General Hospital.

Two hours later, authorities located Rodriguez's vehicle in the 9300 block of Adamo Drive and found Rodriguez dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Times researcher John Martin and staff writer Casey Cora contributed to this report. Thomas Kaplan can be reached at (813) 226-3404 or tkaplan@sptimes.com.

Man kills self after wounding 2 07/29/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 1, 2008 1:16pm]
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