A run-of-the-mill trip to Walmart on Thursday was anything but for Kevin Rodriguez.GoFundMe
As KTLA reported, Rodriguez, 19, stopped at a Temecula, California, Walmart to pick up groceries for his father’s birthday dinner. There, Rodriguez and his girlfriend reportedly noticed a man behind the wheel of a car who appeared to be distressed over the traffic congestion.
In an interview with KTLA, Rodriguez’s father, Atticus, explained the man was honking at people trying to cross the crosswalk:
“They saw the guy first honking at a lady going through the crosswalk. She said there was a lot of traffic and this guy looked like he was getting really bad anxiety.”
The driver of the vehicle then “almost hit” Rodriguez’s car in passing:
“So my son raises his hands and is like, ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong with you?'”
Rodriguez and his girlfriend were allegedly followed into Walmart by the man when a fight broke out. As Atticus Rodriguez told KTLA:
“Came here to the Walmart, they just figured they’re going to walk into Walmart and buy groceries and that’s when the altercation happened, the guy got out of his car, went after my son, got him by the throat, he told his girlfriend, ‘You’re next.’ She’s freaking out and she had no idea that he had a knife and stabbed him in the heart.”
According to KABC, 40-year-old James Fortney is believed to have stabbed Rodriguez in a case of road rage. Fortney allegedly choked Rodriguez before stabbing him in the heart. The incident was reportedly filmed by Fortney on his cellphone.Kevv.Rodriguez/Instagram
Police responding to the scene found Rodriguez with multiple stab wounds. The teen was pronounced dead at the hospital. Rodriguez’s family said their son died at the scene in his girlfriend’s arms, KABC reported.
Fortney was arrested on charges of voluntary manslaughter.
As Rodriguez’s family struggles to come to terms with the death of their loved one, Atticus Rodriguez asks why his son’s alleged attacker would first mortally wound his child, then attempt to help him. As he told KABC:
“When he realized what he did, he started helping him. Trying to bring him back to life. That was really weird. How do you do that to somebody, then realize what you did and try to help him? It makes no sense to me at all.”
According to KTLA, Rodriguez’s girlfriend reportedly tried to usher the teen into her vehicle following the attack, but he collapsed before he could make it.Kevv.Rodriguez//Instagram
KABC reported that Fortney’s daughter told reporters both of her parents had traveled to Walmart that day to buy milk. Fortney’s mother had gone into the store ahead of her husband and when she returned the fight was over.
Yet, questions remain for Atticus Rodriguez, according to KTLA:
“Why did he record it, why do you hurt somebody — and then you want to render aid. What is wrong with you?”
A GoFundMe account has been set up on behalf of the family to help with expenses. Rodriguez was a popular social media star, and he developed a following through his flips and stunts for the camera.
His mother, Traci Rodriguez, told CBSLA: “He liked to cliff jump and jump off bridges and stuff and see how many flips he could do before he hit the water. I was always afraid, told him you’re going to get hurt. But I never thought he would get hurt this way. This was a senseless act.”