Sheriff: Belle Rose robbery victim ID’d

A dead body found Wednesday afternoon partially submerged in Iberville Parish’s remote Rocky Canal has been identified as that of a man reported missing after being shot during a Tuesday armed robbery in Assumption Parish, authorities reported.

Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack said Thursday that the body had been visually identified as Tony Rodriguez Jr., 23, 1452 La. 1, Thibodaux.

Assumption Parish sheriff’s detectives had been searching for both Rodriguez and another victim of the armed robbery and shooting that occurred in an abandoned Belle Rose house that later was set on fire, deputies have said.

Waguespack said in a news release Thursday that no suspects have been named nor any arrests made in the shooting.

After the victims became lost in their vehicle in Belle Rose on La. 998, two men brandishing guns stepped in front of their vehicle and forced it to stop, deputies have said.

The surviving victim reported the shooting of Rodriguez and theft of their vehicle by the gunmen to a 911 operator, deputies said.

Waguespack said in an interview Thursday that detectives have been in contact with the surviving victim and plan to meet with him. Waguespack said detectives have more work to do to find out what happened.

“I think obviously there is more to this story than the initial complainant has given us, but we’re in the very early stages of this investigation and we certainly will go develop this further before we can name a suspect,” the sheriff said.

The victim, when calling 911, told deputies that Rodriguez was shot in the head during the robbery, deputies said.

Waguespack said Rodriguez appears to have been shot in the upper chest area. He added that the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office is scheduled to conduct an autopsy of Rodriguez on Friday.

The body later identified as that of Rodriguez was spotted by fishermen at 4:41 p.m. in the Rocky Canal near Myles Road on the west bank of Iberville Parish between Donaldsonville and White Castle. The area is near the Ascension Parish line.

After being stopped Tuesday on La. 998, the victims were ordered out of their car by the armed men and forced to enter a nearby abandoned residence, deputies quoted the survivor as telling them.

A fight ensued and shots were fired, hitting Rodriguez, deputies said the caller told them.

Rodriguez’s companion was able to get away and run to a nearby business to call 911 for help, deputies said.

The armed men set the house afire after the shootings, causing extensive damage to the structure. Investigators did not find a body at the site of the fire, deputies said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (985) 526-1627 or (985) 369-2912. Callers may remain anonymous.