PLAINFIELD, Ind. — Jose Rolando Castaneda Varela, Alfredo Garcia, and two others were sitting outside White House Suites enjoying the September night with music playing and drinks in their hands when a black car pulled up and a man later identified as Dalonny Rodgers stepped out of the vehicle.
Rodgers was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, one of the survivors would later recall, and approached the group forcibly laughing, throwing his arm around some of the men while he laughed in their faces and slapped them on the chests.
Another witness later recounted hearing Rodgers say, “F*** Latinos,” as he walked away.
When Rodgers later returned, he didn’t come alone. He had a gun.
Court documents reveal that Rodgers fired 11 shots or more into the four men who had been hanging out by a mini-barn outside the motel. All of the men were struck during the barrage of gunfire. A motel guest who had been taking out the trash and having a smoke heard the gunfire followed by a truck peeling out.
The guest managed to catch a glimpse of the Texas license plate as the truck sped away.
Varela would later be pronounced dead on scene. Garcia was pronounced dead approximately a half hour later at the hospital. One of the victims who survived was shot multiple times in his right arm and both legs. The other survivor was shot at least twice in his abdomen and leg, having to undergo multiple surgeries.
Court documents reveal that Rodgers’ girlfriend had been at the hotel when officers arrived. She claimed to not have seen the shooting, saying she and Rodgers had been heading to a bowling alley when they started arguing about “small stupid stuff” and she turned and drove them back to the hotel.
The girlfriend told police she’d left the hotel and returned to find the parking lot blocked off by police activity. When police looked at her phone, officers discovered she’d tried to call Rodgers 16 times within a short time frame immediately following the shooting.
When police questioned the girlfriend about a gun, she originally told officers she’d never known Rodgers to carry a handgun. But then she backtracked to not only admit that he had a medium-sized black gun, but that she’d just seen it on the hotel room table on Sept. 8, two days before the shooting.
The girlfriend told police she had never known Rodgers to be involved in narcotics or violence, either, but court records show Rodgers was charged with murder in late 2014. He ended up pleading guilty to reckless homicide in exchange for the murder charge being dismissed.
Rodgers was picked out of in a photo lineup by the survivors of the shooting and identified as the gunman. He was also captured on surveillance footage with a black handgun in his hand and getting into a Dodge dually pickup truck with a silver toolbox in the back.
One of the survivors told police he’d been staying at the White House Suites for approximately six weeks prior to the shooting. He told officers he’d spoken to Rodgers a few times over the past few days at the hotel as he’d been trying to work on his English. Another witness, who left the hangout before the shooting, told police Rodgers had even hung out with them at the mini-barn before.
A warrant has been issued for Rodgers’ arrest on charges of murder and attempted murder. Rodgers remains at large and has not been apprehended by authorities.