ONTD Political

Georgia man shoots and kills young Latino who accidentally pulled into his driveway

10:06 am - 01/30/2013


Rodrigo Diaz, 22, was driving around with his girlfriend and two friends when he pulled into a driveway, thinking they had arrived at another friend’s house, his brother says. But instead he pulled into the driveway of Phillip Sailors, 69, who thought his home was being robbed, his lawyer says. Sailors then shot Diaz, according to the police report, citing what Sailors told officers at the scene. Diaz later died while in the intensive care unit.

“Basically, what happened is they were looking for one of my brother’s girlfriend’s friends,” says his brother David E. Diaz-Valencia, 23. “The guy came outside and my brother’s girlfriend said he was screaming, ‘Get off my property!’ and he shot into the air. My brother was backing out fast because he was scared and he rolled down the window to say he was sorry and he was not doing anything wrong. Then the guy shot him in his head.”
When officers arrived, Angie Rebolledo, Diaz’s girlfriend, had blood on her jeans, both arms and both hands as she was attempting to get a response from him and screamed frantically that her boyfriend had been shot, according to police.

Police arrested Sailors, of Lilburn, Georgia, who was booked into the Gwinnett County jail Sunday afternoon and charged with murder, according to the police report.

“At this point we have established probable cause to charge Mr. Sailors and when the investigation is complete, we will turn over the case file to the Gwinnett County District Attorneys Officer for processing,” Lilburn police Chief Bruce Hedley told NBC Latino. “To preserve the integrity of the case, I will not be releasing further information concerning this incident.”

Sailors’ lawyer says his client is a Vietnam veteran with no prior criminal history and thought he and his wife were about to be victims of a home invasion. “You have to understand this is a 69-year-old man who is a military veteran who has been honorably discharged,” Michael Puglise says. “He dedicated his life to community service, specifically the Christian Lay Ministry in Latin America.”

Source
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wikilobbying 30th-Jan-2013 06:15 pm (UTC)
people get lost and pull into the wrong driveway or use someone else's driveway at a turn-around spot. like, it happens all the time. i've done it, myself. it's not grounds to shoot someone. even if they had gone as far as went up to his door and knocked/rang the doorbell, he could have simply not answered if he didn't feel comfortable to. that's another thing that i do, and no one has died at my house.

eta: above all, if you shoot someone because you assumed they were going to commit a crime, but they had no plan or intention or desire to commit a crime, that makes you in the wrong. period. it doesn't justify someone's death in any way, but it does justify charging you with murder because that's what killing an innocent person is.

Edited at 2013-01-30 06:19 pm (UTC)
emofordino 30th-Jan-2013 09:21 pm (UTC)
EXACTLY. it's not rodrigo diaz's fault that sailors DIDN'T ASK HIM WHAT HE WAS DOING.

there were a million different courses of action he could have taken. he could have done what i do when people i don't know pull in front of my house or in my driveway, which is just keep an eye on them until they leave, and if they were acting suspiciously, he could have just called the police. if he felt an irresistable urge to confront them, he could have just asked what they were doing, and they would have said they were lost and left quickly and quietly. all of these would have resulted in diaz still being alive and sailors NOT being in jail for murder. and you'd think that those actions are a hell of a lot easier than shooting and killing someone, but apparently not. :(
cinnamontoast 30th-Jan-2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
The lawyer is probably setting his client up for a Castle Doctrine defence? Georgia is one of the states with a Castle Law.
234_am 30th-Jan-2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
i wonder if it had something to do with age, as well as racism?

sailors almost took the cranky old man yelling 'get off my porch you hooligans!' stereotype to the next level and now everyone involved is fucked.
it reminded me of gran torino.
...except real life is not a clint eastwood film.


kangofu 30th-Jan-2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
Sickening. RIP Rodrigo. I hope his family and friends get whatever support they need to get through this.

And I hope that Mr Sailors rots in jail for the rest of his life.
chibi_lurrel 30th-Jan-2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
this makes me so angry. but I'm also grossly relieved that the cops aren't trying to fuck over the victims here?
skellington1 30th-Jan-2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. There've been so many cases of cops pulling crap that I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop while i read the article, but it seems pretty straightforward. So far.
moonshaz 30th-Jan-2013 07:25 pm (UTC)
I'm almost afraid to bring this up, for fear of people thinking I'm trying to make excuses for this jerk (which I assure you, I am NOT). But considering his age, I can't help wonder if he's suffering from dementia of some sort.

The symptoms of dementia can include any (but not necessarily all) of the following:
--Memory loss
--Difficulty communicating
--Inability to learn or remember new information
--Difficulty with planning and organizing
--Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
--Personality changes
--Inability to reason
--Inappropriate behavior
--Paranoia
--Agitation

--Hallucinations
Source

Please note the five items I've bolded. This man was definitely exhibiting at least four of those things, and the fact that he has no prior history of violence points to the possibility that he may be displaying a fifth (personality changes), imo.

When dementia begins to take hold, it's often overlooked at first. Relatives and friends may assume that grandpa is just getting old and crotchety or whatever. When someone you've known for years begins to deteriorate in this manner, the tendency is to continue to see them as that person you've always known and brush aside any discrepancies, until the symptoms finally become so severe they're impossible to ignore.

Don't get me wrong: I am as offended by the comments about his involvement with the "Christian Lay Ministry in Latin America” as anyone else here. And I don't give a fuck about him being a veteran. Neither of those things make this remotely okay. Most of all, I'm NOT necessarily trying to say he isn't a racist toerag. There's no reason to assume he isn't one. Racist toerags can get dementia, just like anybody else. But when someone's behavior is SO consistent with a diagnosis of dementia. I think it's at least barely possible that he's just an old dude who made a REALLY BAD choice because he's suffering from paranoia, agitation, and the loss of his ability to reason due to dementia.

Again, I'm NOT making excuses for the man!!!! But I do hope he is given a full psychiatric and medical evaluation. If it turns out he doesn't have dementia and did this just because he's a douche, I hope they throw the book at him. I just think dementia needs to be looked at here and, if possible, ruled out.

Either way, this is tragic and raging as fuck. D:
[Edited repeatedly for html and formatting fail and insert words I accidentally left out.]

Edited at 2013-01-30 07:29 pm (UTC)
roseembolism 30th-Jan-2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
Well, if he's going through dementia, hopefully they'll put him in a nice facility for the rest of his life. One with bars on the windows and doors.
vulturoso 30th-Jan-2013 07:42 pm (UTC)
My boyfriend is Latino and now I'm unreasonably panicked about him driving anywhere.
spyral_path 30th-Jan-2013 07:45 pm (UTC)
They were driving away, not bashing in the front door. At 69 years of age you'd think he'd be old enough to know the difference. And this is a responsible gun owner using his second ammendment rights to protect his family?
littlelauren86 30th-Jan-2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
Articles like these make me think about how dangerous the usa is. Especially if you're the wrong color.
happythree 30th-Jan-2013 08:03 pm (UTC)
The culture of armed paranoia in action.
tabaqui 30th-Jan-2013 08:05 pm (UTC)
THIS.
tabaqui 30th-Jan-2013 08:05 pm (UTC)
FUCK'S SAKE. You go rot, Mr. Xian-veteran-wonderful guy. You are a fucking asshole.
operatic_diva 30th-Jan-2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
WTF. Being a "veteran"- I realise that means something to some people, doesn't mean you can just shoot people whenever the urge takes you. Thank goodness I don't live in America where my boyfriend would be at risk of being shot FOR MAKING A MISTAKE. Seriously, gun control is needed and needed ASAP.
corbyinoz 30th-Jan-2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
And he's a Christian. Gag. Some days I feel so much rage when I see those words...

Hey, arsehole, here's a thought. Ten commandmants. Heard of 'em? Try 'Thou shalt not kill' on for size. See? I'm not Christian, and *I* understand that.

How do people like him, those Christians so full of rage and fear and hatred, ever parse the notion of 'What would Jesus do'? I mean, someone pulls into your driveway at night - sure, Jesus would grab a gun and shoot that sonofabitch as he tried to leave.

Racist, murdering shithead. Throw the book at him.
awfulbliss 30th-Jan-2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
Georgia is the same state where a few years ago a black man was given a life sentence after killing someone on his property who refused to leave and then charged at him and his son after retrieving something from his car (ended up being a small utility knife). The only witness said the property owner fired a warning shot and pointed his gun at the ground the whole time warning the guy to back off and neighbors who had work done by him (think he was a contractor of sorts) were so terrified of him that they used to carry guns whenever they had to meet with him. This is a very good comparison to see how the law will be applied. I'd bet this guy receives next to or no jail time.

Edited at 2013-01-30 08:14 pm (UTC)
pleasure_past 30th-Jan-2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
BUT IT MAKES THE USA SAFER WHEN PEOPLE WITH NO BUSINESS OWNING GUNS OWN GUNS! YOU KNOW WHAT COULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS? MORE GUNS!

[/sarcasm]

Fuck guns. Fuck racism. Fuck this murderer. My heart goes out to the family of the victim and especially to his girlfriend. I can't imagine how horrific that must have been and I hope she'll have access to therapy or whatever she might need to help her after something like this.
satellite__eyes 30th-Jan-2013 08:56 pm (UTC)
How does him being a veteran with a clean sheet have anything to do with this situation? JFC.
cinnamontoast 30th-Jan-2013 09:16 pm (UTC)
Because being in the military automagically means that you are a hero in the US. Questioning the morality of a soldier, especially a Christian soldier, is frowned upon. Heavily, donnchaknow.

Especially on Facebook.

Source: I'll never, ever make that mistake again. Ever.
nicosian 30th-Jan-2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
godddaaaammnn. If the gun nuts really want to make a point of free unfettered access to their guns, could they AT LEAST NOT GO BLASTING every last person in the head with a twitch reaction?

Take it down a fucking notch.

A friend on a parenting group last night said she left it because someone's dog got into her house, licked the baby, so the reaction from this woman was to beat and kick the dog and pull a gun on the owners who came to fetch the wayward dog.

Le fuck?

When will we see the NRA making some fucking noise about "the gun not being your go to for every little issue". How many more innocent people get a gunshot to the head for being in the wrong place innocently? I don't give a rats ass he's a decorated vet, he's a racist hothead who blew someone's head off.
louisiane_fille 30th-Jan-2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
This. I mean, holy shit, overreact much? (The woman pulling the gun on the dog's owners)
yamamanama 30th-Jan-2013 09:04 pm (UTC)
Tell me he could do that with an axe or a meat cleaver, NRA.
emofordino 30th-Jan-2013 09:26 pm (UTC)
fucking THIS.
lady_borg 30th-Jan-2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
Sailors’ lawyer says his client is a Vietnam veteran with no prior criminal history

Knowing what I know about vietnam and the war, this means shit all to me.
messiah_noire 31st-Jan-2013 12:10 am (UTC)
I think that goes for pretty much all wars... :/
louisiane_fille 30th-Jan-2013 10:53 pm (UTC)
FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING RACIST PIECE OF SHIT.

I hope that you are convicted and spend the rest of your days in prison, because you clearly don't deserve to be allowed free range.

dw_10rosefan 31st-Jan-2013 12:50 am (UTC)
SMH over this. The shooter overreacted, big time.
abiding 31st-Jan-2013 01:14 am (UTC)
Oh fuck him, wow. Absolutely ridiculous.
toxic_glory 31st-Jan-2013 01:45 am (UTC)
this makes me sick. when will this stop happening?
coraki 31st-Jan-2013 02:46 am (UTC)
Coming from my experiences with Vietnam veterans (all but 2 flip the fuck out on me) all for mundane things like standing behind them in line. This makes me even more leery and uncomfortable around Vietnam veterans (or just senior men, since I can't tell who's a Vietnam veteran by looking at them). The south and guns laws wut?

Horrible incident. Truly tragic death of young man who was never given a chance to explain.
ljtaylor 31st-Jan-2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
the fuck did I just read. I hope this dude goes away for the rest of his sorry life. NONE of what he did was even remotely approaching acceptable, his past and religious beliefs being what they are have no bearings on this.
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