The security guard who was shot to death at a Dalton bar early Sunday morning died trying to defend others in the shooter’s path, his brother and a family friend said.
According to police, 20-year-old Orlando Ramirez began shooting at the bar where Bruno Rodriguez, 28, worked after security guards wouldn’t let Ramirez inside because he was too young.
“He was underage,” Alfonso Rodriguez said of Ramirez. “He shouldn’t have been there to begin with, and my brother was just doing his job.”
Bruno Rodriguez had planned to quit the job soon, Alfonso Rodriguez said. He said his younger brother had worked at Las Delicias on East Morris Street only a few months to help make ends meet. Bruno had told family members he felt he was almost caught up financially and would soon quit, Alfonso Rodriguez said.
“With him, he didn’t really fear anything,” Alfonso Rodriguez said. “To me, any bar is going to be dangerous. You have that many people there drinking alcohol ... it can’t be a good thing, and I would tell him that, and he knew that, but it was extra money that he was making. He was actually getting ready to quit working there, and unfortunately it wasn’t soon enough.”
Bruno Rodriguez died after Ramirez shot him in the head with a handgun, police said. Ramirez is being held at the Whitfield County jail after authorities arrested him in Marietta on Monday. He is charged homicide and two counts of aggravated assault. Police say he also shot another security guard, who was taken to Hamilton Medical Center with less severe wounds to his neck and leg and was released. The second guard has asked not to be identified in media reports.
Now, many people who were close to Rodriguez are rallying to support his family. They say he was a hard worker and an unselfish person who would do anything for anyone.
Friend LeeAnn Jones said she just wishes she could bring Rodriguez back.
“He did not deserve this,” she said. “Bruno would have helped anyone, anytime. He was the smiley, happy one. He sincerely would do anything for anyone with a smile on his face. He was always happy, always positive.”
Alfonso Rodriguez said his brother worked with him at J&D Auto Sales for about seven years selling cars before deciding several months ago to move into a job in construction. He also had worked at The Spiced Apple restaurant.
“It didn’t matter what he worked at, he always gave 110 percent,” Alfonso Rodriguez said. “Working for me, I could ask him to do whatever and he would do it, no questions asked.”
Even in high school, Bruno Rodriguez often worked at least part time. He was born in Cobb County, Alfonso Rodriguez said, and the family moved to Whitfield County when Bruno was about 6 or 7. Bruno attended Dalton High School for his freshman and sophomore years between 2000 and 2002 and eventually graduated from Phoenix High School during the 2005-2006 school year, according to school officials.
He leaves behind his parents as well as two sisters and two brothers. The family will receive friends at Love Funeral Home on Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be Thursday at 4 p.m.
Rodriguez’s hobbies included playing pool, and he was a member of a local billiards league for some time, Alfonso Rodriguez said. He was fit and liked to work out. Yet what people seem to remember most is his character.
“He had the biggest heart,” Alfonso Rodriguez said. “He was really funny, he joked around a lot and always made people laugh. He would help you with anything without thinking twice about it.”
Supporters have set up the Bruno Rodriguez Memorial Page on Facebook where they are posting information about various fundraisers to assist the Rodriguez family with expenses. Those who would like to help are asked to call Jones at (706) 618-4189.
Staff writer Misty Watson contributed to this story.