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April 3, 2014

Death in Moore ruled a homicide

Medical examiner says Luis Rodriguez died as a result of physical struggle, heart problem

OKLAHOMA CITY — Luis Rodriguez’s death earlier this year in Moore has been ruled a homicide, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. It’s a determination the Rodriguez family saw coming.

“We weren’t sure of the exact cause, but we were sure it was a homicide,” said Michael Brooks-Jime’nez, the Rodriguez family lawyer. “We were certain that he died due to outside forces, that this was an unnatural death.”

However, the designation of homicide has a different meaning when used in medical terms compared to legal terminology.

According to the National Association of Medical Examiners’ guidelines, the manner of death is best certified as homicide due to the death occurring in association with physical struggle and during attempted restraint by law enforcement.

“In alignment with death certification guidelines by the National Association of Medical Examiners, we classified this death as a homicide,” said Amy Elliot of the Medical Examiner’s officer. “Homicide is a medical term that does not denote wrongdoing or criminal intent.”

Rodriguez, 44, died Feb. 15 after an altercation with three members of the Moore Police Department and two off-duty Oklahoma game wardens working private security at the Warren Theatre.

Rodriguez’s wife, Nair, and his 19-year-old daughter witnessed the episode and have said the police and security officers caused Luis Rodriguez’s death.

“My client and I all along were confident this was a homicide,” Brooks-Jime’nez said. “We are encouraged that the medical examiners office has confirmed it. At this point, we’re reviewing the medical findings.”

Part of the altercation was caught on video by Nair Rodriguez’s cell phone. When it picks up, it shows Luis Rodriguez being held down on the ground by the five men, including one of the officers putting a knee to the back of his neck as he lays on the concrete.

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