Prosecutor: Man was justified in shooting at Grand Rapids gas station
Posted by Nate Reens | The Grand Rapids Press March 27, 2008 10:00AM
Categories: Breaking News, Top Stories
GRAND RAPIDS -- Before he could hit a man with a 4-pound hard plastic garbage can lid during an argument outside a Boston Square gas station last month, Gabriel Rodriguez was shot and killed, a homicide Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth ruled today was justifiable.
Forsyth said he will not file charges against Glenn Tett for the Feb. 18 shooting that left Rodriguez dead, citing an imminent threat and videotape evidence that shows Rodriguez, 48, as the aggressor in the altercation.
Glenn Tett acted in self-defense, the prosecutor said.Tett, the 41-year-old brother of a Grand Rapids police officer, shot Rodriguez once in the head with a legally registered .38-caliber revolver after the men engaged in a brief argument as Tett pumped gas into his truck.
"Within seconds, Mr. Rodriguez reaches down ... picks up a large trash can lid and rapidly raises it above his head in a striking motion toward Mr. Tett," Forsyth wrote in his opinion. "Mr. Tett pulls out his gun and fires."
Tett, who carried a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon, was not required to retreat from the threat Rodriguez posed, and he acted in self-defense, the prosecutor ruled.
"It needs to be emphasized that from start to finish, this incident took less than four seconds," Forsyth said. "As such, Mr. Tett did not have time to consider what other options may have been available nor to see with any certainty the object with which Mr. Rodriguez was assaulting him."
Videotape from the gas station -- the same business where a clerk was shot four months earlier in a robbery -- shows Rodriguez cleaning the parking lot. He approaches Tett's pumping station, and the two begin talking, the video shows.
Tett told investigators Rodriguez was berating him for a ride Tett earlier gave Rodriguez's girlfriend, Tracey Thomas. The slain man was under the impression there was more involved than a ride, Tett and Thomas told police. Tett and Thomas have known each other about 30 years.
Rodriguez had called Tett profane words and threatened to "cut him" while making "a big deal out of this," Tett and Thomas told police after the shooting. Tett didn't immediately recognize Rodriguez in the moments before the shooting, Forsyth said.
Gabriel Rodriguez, seen with his fiancee, Tracy Thomas, was ruled the aggressor the day he was shot at a Boston Square gas station.Authorities were given inconsistent statements about what transpired between the two. Some witnesses said Rodriguez never had an object to threaten Tett with, and others said they heard multiple shots fired.
The videotape, an exam of Tett's weapon and the autopsy results clarify what happened, Forsyth said.
Tett tried to call 911 six times, but misdialed in the heat of the moment. He eventually called his brother, Police Officer Walter Tett, who came to the shooting scene. Walter Tett removed himself after learning what happened, Police Chief Kevin Belk said earlier.
Thomas, Rodriguez's girlfriend, said she spoke with him earlier in the day and he sounded agitated and that he was having a bad day.