Day 2 of downtown Orlando shooting spree trial continues

Man faces life in prison after allegedly opening fire at firm, killing 1 person

nov 4 jason rodriguez jury selection Local 6 News at Noon
nov 4 jason rodriguez jury selection Local 6 News at Noon

ORLANDO, Fla. – Prosecutors brought an Orange County jury more emotional testimony on Friday in Jason Rodriguez's murder trial in Orlando.


Rodriguez, 44,  is accused of storming a downtown Orlando office in 2009 and opening fire, killing one person and hurting five others.

Prosecutors claim he was seeking revenge after he had been fired from Reynolds, Smith and Hills inside the Gateway Center in 2009.

Some of his co-workers told a jury on Friday they didn't believe what they were hearing until they actually saw co-workers running.

One woman said she saw a co-worker who had been shot.

"She was kind of crouching down or diving or falling," she said.  "She just wasn't standing upright.  She said, 'it's not a Halloween joke.'"

She said she heard two more noises, which she identified as gunshots and dove underneath her desk for protection.

A man up the hallway said he thought someone had brought in balloons or party favors when he heard loud pops in the office.  When he realized it was gunfire, he ran for the front door.

"I wasn't sure (Rodriguez) saw me or not," he said.  "I crouched down below the top of the cubicle walls, and I ran for my life."

All of the office staff members who survived the shooting identified Rodriguez as the shooter.

In opening statements, Rodriguez's attorneys said their client hears a voice in his head belonging to an entity called "Sharptooth," which Rodriguez believes conspires with his former employers to ruin his life.

Doctors previously testified that Rodriguez suffers from hallucinations and schizophrenia, but a judge later found him competent to stand trial for murder.

Prosecutors acknowledged on Thursday that Rodriguez was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but says he knew it was wrong to shoot and kill people.

If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to life in prison. The defense has asked the jury to find Rodriguez not guilty by reason of insanity.

Judge Belvin Perry, who is known for his involvement the Casey Anthony trial, is presiding over Rodriguez's trial.

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