Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man shot by Hillsborough deputy outside bar is mentally ill, family says

BRANDON — Yolanda Molina often hides her son's shoes. She's afraid he'll wander off and get hurt.

On Wednesday afternoon, Evelio David Rodriguez, 20, put on someone else's shoes instead and went for a walk.

Now he's in a hospital and under arrest.

Rodriguez is charged with two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, depriving a law enforcement officer of weapon or protection, and more.

It happened in the parking lot of a Brandon sports bar, where a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy shot Rodriguez during a struggle. Authorities say he took a female deputy's Taser and wound up on top of her on the ground. A second deputy fired. The two were attempting to arrest Rodriguez on a trespassing charge when the fight broke out.

The deputies, Desirae Penrose, 27, and Christina Ammons, 45, were not injured.

Rodriguez's family doesn't understand why the incident escalated as far as it did — especially considering his mental state.

"He's got issues," his mother said.

It started about two years ago out of the blue. The once socially active boy stopped talking, Molina said He began mumbling with his face turned toward the sky and arms raised up, like he was talking to God. He won't eat or shower, unless told to do so.

He's never been diagnosed because the family can't afford to seek help.

"I feel sad, hurt, scared for him every time he leaves the house," Molina said. "But I can't watch him all the time."

Rodriguez has been arrested for trespassing five times since 2010. He often begs for money, Molina said, though she doesn't know why.

"I tell him not to go because he's going to get arrested and each time he's going to spend longer in jail," she said.

After a trespassing arrest in September, a judge ordered inpatient mental counseling for a week. Molina tried to follow up but couldn't afford it for long.

Two months later, Rodriguez stabbed his 17-year-old brother in the chest and hands with a Chinese star, sheriff's records show. Molina says Rodriguez did it because he felt cornered by her younger son. The battery charges were dropped.

Symptoms of mental illness can sometimes be misinterpreted by law enforcement officers, said Roaya Tyson, director of emergency and acute care services at Mental Health Care Inc., a nonprofit that assists families in Hillsborough County.

"They mistake it for traditional aggression," Tyson said.

She said there are programs in place for indigent mental health patients, but that it will be up to the family to seek help once Rodriguez is released.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2442.

Man shot by Hillsborough deputy outside bar is mentally ill, family says 04/14/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut

    Blogs

    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview

    Hurricanes

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest

    Health

    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]