Updated: 10:06pm January 5th, 2012
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — 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.
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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.
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. BocaNewsNow.com 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.