PUEBLO COUNTY – A man is now behind bars after a shooting that happened Thursday morning outside St. Joseph Catholic Church in Blende.
Pueblo County Sheriff’s detectives arrested 26-year-old Leonard “Lenny” Rodriguez who investigators believe fired shots at another vehicle in the church parking lot.
No one was hurt in this incident.
During the shooting a funeral service for Frankie Hernandez was going on inside the church. The 38-year-old was killed in a crash in Pueblo West last week. News 5 learned Hernandez had been in trouble with police and whether or not Thursday’s shooting was connected to him is still unclear.
Regardless, the incident was very disturbing for those living nearby as their usually quiet, peaceful neighborhood was struck by violence.
Edward Powell, who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, said, “I was making breakfast this morning for the wife and I, and I heard a loud pop. Initial pop was like rifle fire and then shortly after I heard five or six rapid fire shots right behind it.”
Powell said he shook it off, not knowing the reality of what was going on just across the street from his home.
Captain Don Leach of the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office said, “Church staff immediately locked down and they were on 911 again with multiple callers, and they did everything they could to maintain people inside…there was multiple witnesses. Multiple shots were fired. They were reporting shots were being fired at people. They reported two vehicles were involved, a white Ford Escape and a black Chrysler.”
Detectives said the people in both vehicles had gotten into a verbal argument when shots were fired from someone inside the Escape. Both vehicles eventually took off in opposite directions. The black Chrysler was soon located on Pueblo’s East Side and the occupants were questioned about the incident.
Later that afternoon detectives tracked down the suspect who had fired shots from the Ford Escape. Leonard “Lenny” Rodriguez was found and arrested for what happened outside the church.
Melissa Ayalla, who also lives nearby, said, “I personally don’t go to that church, but I know family and friends that do…it’s a little scary to know because it’s right there.”
Powell said, “We don’t usually have those kind of problems over here…that makes me really uneasy, wow.”
Rodriguez was arrested for two counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of felony menacing along with several other charges. He’s currently at the Pueblo County Jail.
The motive for this shooting is still under investigation.