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Ada Rodriguez (Yearbook photo)
By VALERIE KALFRIN and DEBORAH ZIFF
The Tampa Tribune
TAMPA - Luis Rodriguez last saw his parents alive when they left home before dawn on Monday.
His father, Alfredo Rodriguez, always drove his mother, Ada, to work at Young Middle Magnet School about 5 a.m. The school didnâ€™t open for classes until Thursday, but Ada, the lunchroom manager, and about 30 teachers were there for a planning day.
Tampa police later told Luis that a deliveryman found his parents dead in the school parking lot at 1807 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. about 6:20 a.m.
Standing outside the familyâ€™s home at 907 E. 24th Ave. about noon, Luis Rodriguez struggled to make sense of their deaths. At 19, he is the oldest of their six children.
â€œIâ€™m just trying to calm down,â€ he said, wiping his brow and neck with a handkerchief in the heat. â€œThey was happy, you know? Nobody could bring them apart.â€
Police released few details about what happened to the couple. Police spokesman Larry McKinnon said shots were fired soon after they arrived at the school. Detectives have ruled out robbery as a possible motive, he said.
Ada Rodriguez is the second school employee to be killed on school property in recent years. In 2004, a Ferrell Middle Magnet School janitor, Onorio Suarez-Ramos, was slain while vacuuming an empty classroom.
Alfredo Rodriguez, 54, is a native of Cuba who worked as a laborer, his son said. His wife, 38, was born in Puerto Rico.
She worked at the school since 2003 as production coordinator of both Young and the adjacent Lockhart Gifted and Talent Development Academy, 3719 N. 17th Street, according to school district records. This was to be her first year as lunchroom manager after completing training for the promotion in June.
Married in 1991, they met in the Bronx, N.Y., while Alfredo Rodriguez was losing the video game Pac Man. â€œHe was hitting the machine and my mom was teaching himâ€ how to play, Luis Rodriguez said.
They have relatives in Tampa, including Adaâ€™s mother and uncles, whom Luis Rodriguez embraced at the familyâ€™s home Monday.
The coupleâ€™s youngest son, Isaiah, 5, attends Lockhart. Luis Rodriguez smiled recalling how his mother would walk over to the elementary school to check on his brother and see him to class.
About 450 students are enrolled at Lockhart and about 700 are enrolled at Young, which focuses on math, science and technology. The Florida Department of Education graded Young an â€œAâ€ last year.
Grief counselors will be available for faculty and staff, school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said. The district may send letters home to parents explaining the situation once they have more information, Cobbe said.
Reporter Valerie Kalfrin can be reached at (813) 259-7800 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Reporter Deborah Ziff can be reached at (813) 259-7203 or email@example.com.
Researchers Buddy Jaudon and Catherine Hammer contributed to this article.
Tampa Police at the scene behind Young Middle Magnet School./Jay Nolan/Tribune
This is horrible news, my prayers for the family and loved ones. I think it is a crying shame that you people want to talk trash about this. What if it was your child’s school? Would you still send your kids there? I know I would, it is so sad that this happened at a school, but it is happening everywhere not just schools, be thankful it wasnt’ you and pray for the family members, don’t talk trash, it could of been your family or loved ones.
Just because the school is in “the hood” doesnt mean a thing! This is a great school(i would know)!! This same thing could have a happened in some richy richy place or school! So just because of where it is dont say you know this would happen. Thats bull.
The reason Racism still lives is that for whatever reason the race that is involved has failed to police themselves and to force change from within as a social group in todays society.Yes it is true that Mr.Perkins may have jumped the gun,but one must admit that the areas involved seem to do little to drive out the bad elements.They give off the perception of acceptance/tolerance.Which I feel is the problem in todays world on a global basis.There is no fear of punishment/reprisal.As for the school being an “A” rated magnet school, therefore a safe place I disagree as will many of our Soliders over seas.I am sure nobody would say the world is a better place just because us Americans are there.So why would the school which has students bussed in be any safer than the neighborhoods and society allow them to be in the first place. We made our beds sort of speak, it’s time we get our lazy butts out of the same old bed and change it and ourselves as a global Race.The Human Race !
Mr. Perkins is living in the dark ages!!! And needs to wake up!!!!
WOW! this is way weird…i went to this middle school. never would i think that something like this would happen there. this school has been graded “A” since i entered that school back in my 6th grade year which was (2002-2003) i spent all 3 years at the school and we never had any type of trouble or problems. WOW just so shocking
I THINK IT’S MORE CRIME BE COMMITTED IN PASCO COUNTY RECENTLY, THE COUNTRY HOOD.
First of all my prayers go out to the victims and their families. Mr. Perkins just because the school is in the “hood” as you put it does that make what happened right? And we don’t know what happened at this point do we? It is people like you that jump to conclusions without knowing the facts that bother me so much. I lived in New York for 16 years and when I moved to the SUBURBS of Birmingham, Alabama all I heard was in New York so many robberies and murders. I was robbed at gunpoint in the burbs of Alabama. Wait for the facts before making your comments and maybe send your prayers to the victims and their families.
It tells you what kind of world we live in by reading the comments to this story. Not once, has anyone expressed concern for the people deceased, for the families that will be devastated when the news is delivered, not once has anyone mentioned how sad it is. Instead you all do what everyone else does, so dont cast stones at a glass house when you live in one too.
My prayers to the families and those who comment and cannot find it in their hearts to look past where it happened.
Why does the school need to send in grief counselors ? None of the kids or teachers got a look at the bodies. What a waste of time and money. We never had crap like that when our family members and friends were coming back from Nam.
It might do some of these kids and teachers some good to see something like that. This is the real world and you can’t live with your head in the sand.
In response to these comments i must say to Mr Perkins, I myself went to Young and I am a white woman- I now have 2 degrees, and fondly remember this school. Lets see if someone says the same about a serial killer in your neighborhood- It’s just the suburbs, not surprised.
I’m just thankful that this unfortunate incident occured while school is not in session, and the victims are not school employees. (When I first heard this, flashbacks of AJ Ferrell custodian murder went through my mind). I hope they get the investigation and cleanup done before opening on Thursday.
Oh, Mr. Perkins, let me assure you that while school is in session and employees are on the premises in “the hood” they are very secure. What happened during the night could happen in any neighborhood….it could have happened a little further down the street as well…unfortunate publicity for the school system.
The media is reporting that the authorities are ruling out homicide. Regardless of the school’s location, 2 people are dead and possibly self-inflicted.
I live in the “hood”, and it seems to me that my neighbors watch out for me here, just as neighbors do all over Tampa Bay. One of the sad facts of life that my neighbors and I agree on is that what makes life in the “hood” dangerous sometimes is the influx of drugs and their availability. Funny, drugs are the same thing that make living everywhere dangerous. It’s not the “hood” that’s bad. Please don’t judge.
It seems to me like there are a lot of people in the Tampa Bay area with a violent streak that seems to be exposing itself during the hot months of summer.
I used to live in the Tampa bay area, and keep up with local news. Why, lately, does there seem to be SO MUCH MORE VIOLENCE? The list of killings just within the past week is unbelievable. There was a shooting in Pasco county just Friday that left two young men dead…....how sad. It doesn’t seem to be confined to just one area or locale, as is usual.
What is going on?
Mr. Perkins, my, my, aren’t we quick to jump to conclusions. It’s people like you that keep racism in the headlines. Did you read the story, Young is a Magnet school with an A average, and, yes, it is in the hood - hooray for those children and, by the way, a very historic neighborhood. Get your facts straight before running your mouth.
In response to Mr. Charles Perkins, I don’t believe that “the hood” has anything to do with the 2 bodies being found. Bad things happen everywhere and regardless of where it happened, it’s really sad.
That school is in the middle of the Hood. Not suprised at all.