Suspect in deadly Kendallville gas station shooting waives extradition; will return to Indiana


KENDALLVILLE, Ind. (WANE) — The man accused of randomly shooting three customers at a Kendallville gas station, killing one, has waived extradition and will be returned to Indiana to face multiple charges.

Matthew D. Rodriguez, 24, faces a charge of Murder and two counts of Attempted Murder in Noble Superior Court. He appeared in Athens County Municipal Court in Ohio Thursday morning where he waived extradition following his capture there on Wednesday. He’s expected back in Indiana within three days.

Matthew Rodriguez

Wednesday morning, police confirmed that it was the suspect’s sister, who called police after the shooting. According to court documents, she claimed Rodriquez came home after the shooting, in a “irate, crazy and insane” state. She claimed that her brother was armed and did admit to shooting three people.

One man – 32-year-old Justin M. Smead – was pronounced dead at the scene. Two victims – Alyssa Jeffries and Blake Lewis – were transported to an area hospital in critical yet stable condition. One remains hospitalized and the other was released, police said Wednesday.

Rodriguez was quickly named a suspect in the violence, and police began searching for him.

Noble County Prosecutor Jim Mowery, told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee this was a “wrong place, wrong time” for the victims. Police still believe this was a random shooting and said there is no evidence linking the suspect to the victims. Mowery confirmed that all three victims knew each other and were at the gas station together.

Just before 3 a.m. Wednesday, an Ohio trooper was performing a routine stop at a rest area just outside Athens, Ohio, and came across a red Kia Forte that was listed as a suspect vehicle. Police learned Rodriguez was inside the rest plaza, and he barricaded himself in the bathroom of the facility, police said.

A SWAT team and a negotiator were called out.

Just before 5 a.m., Rodriguez surrendered and was taken into custody. Kendallville Police Chief Lance Waters confirmed that Rodriguez was alone and there was a 9 mm pistol in the car.

Noble County Prosecutor Jim Mowery said he considers this a win.

“His obvious propensity for violence the he displayed gave us great concern. Above all else, we are very happy he has been apprehended,” Mowery said. “No one else was injured and he is safe in custody in the state of Ohio.”

Rodriguez is being held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville, Ohio. Kendallville Police are working to extradite him back to Indiana to face charges.

Police said the shooting was a random act of violence and Rodriguez did not know the victims. A motive has not yet been determined.

A 9 mm handgun was found in the Kia when police arrested Rodriguez, police said.

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