KENDALLVILLE, IN — After an ongoing search and investigation, the man authorities have been looking for as a person of interest for shooting three customers at a Kendallville gas station, killing one, has been arrested.
24-year-old Matthew D. Rodriguez is now facing a charge of Murder and two counts of Attempted Murder in Noble County Superior Court.
Just before midnight Sunday, June 27th, law enforcement officers in Kendallville and Noble County responded to a reported shooting at the Gallops gas station on the 1200 block of North Street. A caller notified police of multiple people shot. It was reported by the caller that there was one shooter.
Justin M. Smead, age 32 of Rome City, was pronounced dead at the scene. Two victims, Alyssa Jeffries and Blake Lewis, were transported to an area hospital in critical yet stable condition. During a press conference late Wednesday morning, authorities say one remains hospitalized and the other was released.
The investigative team released Rodriguez as a suspect and submitted a photo, which circulated throughout the region.
A break in the case happened just before 3 a.m. Wednesday morning when an Ohio trooper was performing a check of a rest stop just outside Athens, Ohio. The trooper came across a red Kia Forte that was listed as a suspect vehicle.
Once Rodriguez realized police knew he was inside the rest plaza, he barricaded himself in the bathroom of the facility. A SWAT team and a negotiator were called out. Just before 5 a.m. Rodriguez surrendered and was taken into custody.
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.
During the Wednesday press conference, investigator said a 9 mm handgun was found in the Kia when police arrested Rodriguez in Ohio. Authorities also emphasized the shooting is still believed to be a random act of violence, adding Rodriguez did not know the victims.
At this time a motive has not yet been determined by the investigative team.