Officer: Alleged dog killer has ‘genuine, crazy, displaced rage’

Published 12:18 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Albert Lea teen charged with killing his family’s dog was described in court Monday as having “genuine, crazy, displaced rage” directed at his family.


Omar Rodriguez, 17 — who was charged last week with using a brick to smash in the skull of his family’s Chihuahua — has a history of incidents toward his family, according to Freeborn County probation officer Darren Welsh. Welsh said Rodriguez has punctured tires on the family’s van, turned a crucifix in the home upside down and marked “666” on his mother’s Bible.

The incidents were included in a report by Shoreview physician Roger Carten that Welsh referenced in front of Freeborn County District Court Judge Steve Schwab. The report was offered to show why Rodriguez should stay at the secured juvenile detention facility in Red Wing instead of being released to his family or to a less-restrictive facility until the case is resolved.

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Quoting Carten’s report, Welsh said Rodriguez was just “a hair’s breath away from taking it out on (his family).”

Because of these concerns, along with others about possible controlled substance use, Welsh and Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Erin O’Brien argued that Rodriguez should not be transferred to the Elmore Academy in Elmore or the Von Wald Shelter in Rochester. They recommended Rodriguez complete a psychological assessment before other options are considered.

Schwab agreed with prosecutors and ordered that Rodriguez undergo a psychological assessment before he would consider placing the teen in a less restrictive facility. He noted Rodriguez’s level of rage, strange behavior and possible substance abuse as reasons for doing so.

The dog was reportedly found dead in a large pool of blood on Oct. 13 in the porch of the family’s home on the 800 block of Madison Ave. A family member reported the incident to police.

The teenager reportedly set the dog on a cinder block and used a paver brick to strike it in the head, according to court documents.

During an interview with police last week, Rodriguez reportedly admitted he killed the dog, noting he has “unpredictable behavior,” documents state.

In court Monday, however, Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to the charge and invoked his 6th Amendment right to a speedy trial.

Rodriguez’s mother and father, who were seated behind him during the hearing, said their son has had physical and mental problems since a previous interaction with police. That’s when his rage began, they said.

“It’s not because he’s angry at us,” his mother said through an interpreter.