BOCA MURDER: Armed Men Kill Boca Bartender, Flee


Rafael Rodriguez murdered
Rafael Rodriguez, a bartender at Josephine’s in Boca Raton, was murdered. He also was a professional Realtor. Photo courtesy Century21 via Twitter.

Updated: 10:06pm January 5th, 2012
BOCA RATON, FL ( — A horrific murder is under investigation by Boca Raton homicide detectives. Police say the suspects — four black men — attacked bartender Rafael Rodriguez, 46, and a waiter behind Josephine’s Restaurant at 5751 North Federal Highway. Rodriquez was shot and killed. He also worked as a realtor for Century 21.
Police were called to the restaurant when a caller to 911 said someone was screaming.
From the police:

When officers arrived on the scene, they found one male shot. After speaking with witnesses and reviewing surveillance video, Boca Raton detectives were able to piece together the crime. Josephine’s Restaurant closed at about 10:00 p.m., however, the owner, several employees, and patrons remained. At approximately 11:43 p.m., a waiter was leaving and the bartender, Rafael Rodriguez, walked with him to the back door. As the waiter exited the back door, several suspects accosted them. The waiter and Rodriguez were knocked to the ground and the waiter was pistol whipped. One or two suspects stood guard while other suspects entered the restaurant. The suspects are black males; all were wearing some kind of mask or facial covering. The suspects were armed with either revolvers or semi-automatic handguns.
Once inside the restaurant, the suspects approached the rest of the victims, who were around the bar area. The suspects then took personal items, including wallets, jewelry, and cell phones from the victims. As the suspects were leaving, Rodriguez exchanged words with one of the suspects. At this point, the suspect shot at Rodriguez, striking him once.
The suspects fled out of the back door and were last seen running south behind the buildings. Rodriguez and the waiter were transported to Delray Medical Center, where Rodriguez later died. The waiter was released this morning.
Boca Raton detectives are following leads throughout the South Florida area. If anyone has information about this crime, they are asked to call the Boca Raton Police Department at (561) 368-6201 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS.
The suspects:
1. Black male, tall, thin, long sleeved shirt, pants, baseball cap, backpack, black revolver, mask.
2. Black male, thin, below knee shorts, backpack, handgun, hood and mask.
3. Black male, medium build, pants, short sleeve shirt, bandana, ball cap, hand gun.
4. Black male, long sleeve dark shirt, below knee shorts, light shirt or scarf covering face.

NOTE 10:05pm: We have received several emails and comments from readers pointing out that the Palm Beach Post is not publishing that police say the suspects are black. It is unclear to us why the Post would leave this information out of its story. has a policy of publishing all identifying suspect information as provided to us by police. We assert that including skin color is neither racist nor antagonistic and believe it is irresponsible to omit identifying features of alleged killers on the loose in our community.
UPDATE: MONDAY, 3:55p: Police Investigation Connection To Previous Boca Restaurant Robbery. Read.

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39 thoughts on “BOCA MURDER: Armed Men Kill Boca Bartender, Flee

  1. This is such a horrific tragedy – and Rafael was one of the most kind and genorous men I’ve known. Josephine’s is one of my favorite local rest, we were there last eve eating @ the bar with our friends…I pray for Rafael and his family – as well as Josephine and the entire ‘jospehine’s family’. Boca raton has had far too many senseless acts of violence of late…

  2. This is such devastating news…Josephine and Raphael were nothing but kind,generous and hard working people and a friend to the Community. Please pray for her and this senseless act of violence.

  3. Very nice BocaNewsNow. You had this story almost an hour before the Palm Beach Post. This is a story that matters to Boca, and this shows why papers like the post are dying.

  4. I am shocked. Rafael was such a nice person. My elderly mother was a neighbor of his. He was always eager and willing to help her at any time and anyone else in the building.

  5. Thank you Boca Raton News for publishing the suspects description. If the news would publish complete descriptions of suspects maybe we as a responsible and concerned community could be more aware and maybe contribute to the apprehension of these persons.

  6. I PROMISE you every one of those scummers have been in trouble with the law before, and all they got was a slap on the wrist. These scummers need to be euthenized the FIRST time they commit a violent crime against innocents. No 2nd chances! Take them out back and hang them high!

    1. I agree!!! They have to be scared of something. Enough with the guns. We are living in the wild west. We need tough laws when peoplenpurchase guns and undercover agents to catch illegal gun sales- much the same as drug undercover agents.

  7. So sad to hear that such a nice young man has been killed. Too bad someone was not carrying a weapon to take care of these creeps before they killed this dear man. Chances are these criminals came here from Dade or Broward. My family has lived in this area for 90 years. I plan on moving away soon. I am one of the last to leave. So sad, this used to be such a nice place to live and raise a family.

    1. You got to be kidding. FOUR armed gunmen surprised Rafael and waiter at the back of the store-obviously planned and probably knew the routine. So what do you mean-that one armed person would have shot all four? Or I guess if that one armed person had an AK47 on them it would have been a deterrent? Lem, I am open minded. I would love to hear the wisdom behind your statement.

      1. voice of reason…based on the way we hear this played out the death of this young man would not have been prevented. the different scenario is one competent CWP holder carrying in the restaurant could have stopped the hoodrats from successfully completing their mission. they shot and killed this man came in and robbed the remaining patrons and owner. it is clear you are not familiar with weapons as the ak47 is a long arm not concealable. my little ruger in my evening purse or if casual, my glock 19 in my trendy purse and/or my husbands sig in his cw holster could have made a dent. now these rats are back on the street to hurt someone else.

      2. You missed my point about the AK47. There is a strong current of opinion among a segment of society that banning assault weapons such as the AK47 1) is not the answer 2) infringes on the 2nd amendment 3) would eliminate a deterrent against the type of shooting that happened at Josephines. You yourself confirmed that that logic is spurious. Additionally, if you follow the facts, the shooting did not take place when the 2 criminals were inside the restaurant gathering the jewelry etc. So you are saying that although no shooting had taken place at that time, that you or your husband, faced with 2 masked criminals with weapons pointed at you, would have reached inside your purse or reached to his holster and started shooting?? And, it is now believed that Rafael had a CWP and carried a weapon on his leg. I respect your right to carry a firearm and your opinion, but ma’am, the perpetrators of Sandy Hook, Aurora (twice!), the Sikh shooting, Josephine’s in Boca, the Delray shooting on West Atlantic Ave 10 days ago, Gabby Giffords, the DC sniper shooting, the millions of other gun murders etc etc etc-all had different motives, different profiles, were of different races, watched different things on television, were raised different — the one common thread is the use of deadly weapons. Until we as a collective nation make the choice that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness trumps any restrictions on the 2nd amendment, this bloodshed will continue.

      3. The second amendment is what it is. It guarantees us, we, me, the right to defend our selves, and our loved ones. With firearms.
        I am 77 YOA, with my CCWL and my Glock 19, I can inflict instant justice, given the correct stimulus.
        Threat of bodily harm to my Wife of 20 wonderful years, is one of those!
        And when armed men (Black/White, or pocadoted) ask me to empty my pockets (and holster!)they are getting shot in the face.
        Action beats reaction, when my draw is seen, one is dead. I spent over twenty years as a firearms Instructor, can I shoot? Under stress, yes I can.
        Plus 5 years as a Bouncer (part time 3 nights a week) in the violent Port of Liverpool England, gave me a real good education in handing out instant major damage. God Bless America, and our constitution. Me a Citizen since 2011.

      4. 4 people come in with a guns drawn.There was no stopping this, Someone pulls out their gun and you have more dead innocent people. GET REAL !!!!!

      5. vor, who really knows how anyone reacts in a scenario like this. i train weekly for it and hope that if it does happen i will react without hesitation and with clear judgment. these hoodrats do not expect you to pushback which is what we have to do. you have two elements right now assaulting the american people…those with mental disease and those of the criminal element. we can work to stop the criminal element. as far as pushing back with guns drawn, i am pretty sure that elderly gentleman in ocala last year went up against hoodrats with guns…makes for a comical video in fact. i can easily see brian responding in like manner to protect his lovely partner

      6. Ignorant people like you is why honest people are fighting to defend themselves.

      7. These cowards don’t like getting shot at….they probably would have run away.

    2. Where are you going to move to, that provides a safer environment?
      Aurora, Colorado? New Town, Connecticut? Chicago, New York, Los Angeles??

  8. o sad to hear that such a nice young man has been killed. Too bad someone was not carrying a weapon to take care of these creeps before they killed this dear man. Chances are these criminals came here from Dade or Broward. My family has lived in this area for 90 years. I plan on moving away soon. I am one of the last to leave. So sad, this used to be such a nice place to live and raise a family.

  9. Cowards!!!! Would love the chance to do a little vigilante justice on these cowards!!!! Black suspects??? Of course, look at the Boca Police website and that is all you see! May God Bless Rafael, his family and Josephine. As for those black bastards…… Hope they burn in hell!!!!

    1. boca news published a good description including race. there is an update after the description that is more like a disclaimer. liberals do not want race mentioned. it is a shame, the public deserves to have all the information to protect themselves and maybe even contribute to a find and conviction

      1. I am a liberal. I am glad they mentioned their race, probably the most identifying characteristic. Your comment about liberals is ignorant.

  10. I did not know Rafael, but this could have been any one of us or any one of our friends or family. I don’t know what the answer is to minimize the senseless violence that has permeated South Florida, but I have to thank for at least having the courage to give us as much identifying information on the suspects as is available. I am appalled that the major news sources in our area choose political correctness over reporting sufficient facts to try to bring the suspects to justice. A well functioning press is the key to a healthy democratic republic and right now, the only sources telling us the truth are alternative sources. At this point, I can’t take anything I hear on the mainstream media as true without doing a little fact checking on my own. BocaNewsNow, keep doing what you’re doing.

  11. I’m very sad to hear this news. I knew Rafael back in 2000 – 2005 when we used to work together at ANC. He was a an extremely nice man and was always very polite. God bless his soul and remaining family members. Alex

  12. 4 armed men that planned attack can’t be stopped by shooting one of them before getting shot themselves…odds are 4 against 1, close to impossible odds


  14. I notice that back in May,there was a very similar incident at another Boca restaurant…very similar according to the article.

  15. Josephine we are so terribly sorry this is horrendous. You are in our prayers and thoughts. Our most deepest heartfelt sympathies to you, your family, Rafael’s family and all of your staff. All our warmest love Janet & Mark

  16. Why are you calling this a horrific murder? Aren’t all murders, by definition, horrific? of course they are!

  17. Sun Sentinel article doesn’t mention the men were black. Since when is it ‘racist’ to say the suspects were black??? Well, they WERE. Would it be racist to say it if they were white, hispanic, oriental?? NO. How would they know who they were looking for if they didn’t know what they looked like??? I’m SO over this ignorant political correct, liberal media! The Palm Beach Post omitted the same important information in their report. So glad you, BocaNewsNow had the sense to say it.

  18. so saddened to hear about this terrible crime. Rafael was truly a good person i just was there over thanksgiving and talked with him and Josephine. He will truly be missed my prayers go out tohis family as well as josephine and her staff.

  19. Rafael, may you find peace, rest and tranqulity in heaven, that you so deserved. You will be missed, even from afar. To his family, please accept our deepest condolences. All of us hear in Sullivan County, New York will always remember what a great person he was. We all have great memories from our days together at KCC… We shall one day soon gather up here in Monticello and raise our glasses to him. We are sorry that some of us can not be there in person to offer comfort and prayers.

  20. Rafael I truly remember you back from high school and always great with others…What everyone says is right on target always a loving , caring spirit..May you rest in peace…Prayers with you always..