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.”

sunktheglow 30th-Jan-2013 04:23 pm (UTC)
Uh, people pull in my driveway and back out all the time. Not to mention, I get unexpected visitors. I don't go outside and shoot people for that. It's not like the guy was at his front door, playing with the lock with a bobby pin or whatever.
evilnel 30th-Jan-2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
I think this is the worst part. If this had been a car full of white folks, the guy probably would have been like 'oh well, got turned around' but because it was Latino people he was like ZOMG I'M ABOUT TO BE ROBBED!!! Racist much? :/
sunktheglow 30th-Jan-2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
That's pretty much how I feel, particularly given the fact that the guy was BACKING OUT of the driveway when he was shot. Also, we live out in the country and a random person knocked on our door pretty late (they needed jumper cables) and we felt uncomfortable, so we didn't get our guns and shoot anyone, we called the police...
evilnel 30th-Jan-2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
Exactly! I was trying to think through this scenario. Even if they stopped in the driveway and put the car in park to look at a map or directions, how long could they have been there? This guy had a gun handy enough that he could grab it, threaten them with a warning shot, and then when they were backing out follow them into the driveway to shoot him in the head. This doesn't sound like an accident, it sounds like 'minority alert! shoot first, ask questions later!' I live alone and I'm a 26 year old woman. If this happened to me I would make sure my doors were locked and grab my phone to call the police if they didn't leave in a reasonable amount of time (like 30 seconds or so). I think my response (or even immediately calling the police) is a reasonable response, not just shooting, ESPECIALLY once they were clearly already leaving!
sunktheglow 30th-Jan-2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
I was even willing to give the guy the benefit of a doubt when I first read the title of the article. If someone's trying to unlock your door and you shoot them THROUGH the door, it's hardly racism and very obviously protecting yourself, but the guy never even got out of his car. Furthermore, you know that Sailors had to have seen the guy because he was out in his YARD. It's a clear-cut case of racism, especially with that note from his lawyer that basically went, "This isn't racism! He has a lot of friends that aren't white!" I hope they give this guy the chair, to be honest.
evilnel 30th-Jan-2013 06:03 pm (UTC)
farchivist 31st-Jan-2013 12:58 am (UTC)
With the area, that's probably pretty much what happened. Lilburn has had a high influx of fairly successful multi-ethnic young professionals move in the past 5 years or so, and a lot of the...older Caucasian residents don't like it. They don't get much sway beyond griping about "bad elements" at town meetings, but the resentment against non-Asians and non-whites is pretty high in that segment.
nesmith 30th-Jan-2013 08:31 pm (UTC)
Seriously. One night a car pulled into the end of my drive and the passenger got out and had a very loud and personal argument with the driver. I went downstairs and watched from the window (quiet summer night, open windows, I could hear every word) and they eventually saw that they had an audience and left, but it never even occurred to me to grab any kind of weapon (all the ones in my house are non-firearm anyway).

Edited at 2013-01-30 08:35 pm (UTC)
elialshadowpine 31st-Jan-2013 05:13 am (UTC)
We've had this happen too. Acoustics on this road being what they are (ie, fucking weird), we can pretty much hear anything in our driveway and our neighbor's driveway. JFC, that shit happens. o.O
psychesky 30th-Jan-2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
THIS. My old house was on the first street after a stoplight intersection, and I had the first driveway on the street. I had at least 4 cars per week turn around in my driveway because they missed the turn at the light. I was a paranoid girl in a big old house all alone, and while I looked out the window suspiciously every time, I never thought to pull a fucking gun. Our culture and it's obsession with firearms is terrifying.
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