Texas man arrested in connection to shooting at toddler’s birthday party released from jail on bonds

Posted at 6:15 AM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 08:15:40-04
 Ronnie Rodriguez Jr.
Photo of Ronnie Rodriguez Jr.

TAFT, Texas (KRIS) – A 20-year-old Texas man is free after posting bonds totaling $50,000 after he was arrested in connection with a weekend shooting in Taft at a toddler’s birthday party that left four people dead.

A spokeswoman at the San Patricio County Jail reported that Ronnie Rodriguez Jr. was released Sunday. Rodriguez had been taken into custody earlier in the day by state troopers in connection with the shooting.

Rodriguez’s father — Ronnie Sr., 37 — also is wanted in connection with the fatal shooting and remains at large, Sgt. Nathan Brandley with the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

The shooting occurred at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

Investigators told KRIS-TV that Ronnie Rodriguez Sr., along with his son, shot and killed a grandfather and his grandsons.

The shooting took place during a 1-year-old child’s birthday party Saturday night.

Sgt. Brandley identified those killed as 62-year-old Juan Espinoza Sr., 20-year-old Juan Sandoval III, 22-year-old Jeremy Sandoval and 25-year-old Nicky Sandoval.  Juan Espinoza Sr. was the grandfather to Juan, Jeremy and Nicky.

The grandson’s father, 43-year-old Juan Espinoza Jr.,  was airlifted via HALO-Flight to a hospital. He is expected to live.

CNN spoke with the daughter of  Juan Espinoza Sr. She told CNN: ” He did everything he could for us. He was happily married to his first and only love, my mother, Eulalia Sandoval.”

DPS Troopers say if anyone has any information on Ronnie Rodriguez Sr.’s whereabouts, they ask to please contact the San Patricio Sheriff’s Department at 361-364-9066 or call the police.