Roberto Rodriguez, of Richardson, Texas, wanted an affordable iPhone for his 11-year-old daughter, so he turned to Facebook Marketplace.
He had no idea before the exchange was over, though, he’d have to shoot two people.
While Rodriguez was at an Easter party with his family on April 1, he thought he’d found the right deal —$175 for an iPhone 7 — so he and his wife Fernanda took their three kids to the east Fort Worth apartment complex the seller directed him toward.
“I was about to go alone,” Roberto told the Star-Telegram. “I should have gone alone.”
They arrived around 8 p.m. at the Asher Apartments, between Randol Mill Road and Interstate 30, where an 18-year-old named Otis Lenoie was waiting for him in the parking lot, Rodriguez said. When he got out of his SUV, Lenoie and three other men attacked him — punching, kicking and dragging him to the rear of his vehicle while Fernanda and the kids watched, horrified.
Roberto began to crawl back toward the car, where he kept “a cheap little Hi-Point .380” in the door, he said.
“I’m pretty sure their plan was to rob me completely,” Roberto said. “Like steal my SUV and my wallet. I had $1,800 in my wallet because earlier I wanted to buy a money order to pay rent but didn’t get a chance.”
He got hold of his gun and fired 5-7 rounds as he wrestled with his attackers, wounding two of them while another ran from the scene. He also shot a hole in the door of his car.
During the scrum Fernanda grabbed a 12-inch screwdriver from the vehicle and attacked one of them as well.
“My 11-year-old was screaming. She was shaking for hours after that,” Roberto said. “She thought we were going to die.”
A MedStar spokesman confirmed that two adult males with gunshot wounds were taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital after the shooting.
Lenoie was arrested in connection with the attack on April 11. He remained in jail Monday with bond set at $25,000, according to Officer Jimmy Pollozani, a Fort Worth Police Department spokesman.
Fort Worth police have issued three additional arrest warrants in the case. According to the police report, 19-year-old Kueston Howard also sustained a gunshot wound in the incident.
Both Rodriguez's gun and the screwdriver used by his wife were taken as evidence. Rodriguez told the Star-Telegram he bought another gun, and keeps it in the same spot as the one he used to thwart his attackers: right in the car door.
"I'm so thankful for the Second Amendment," Rodriguez said. "But people also need to watch out on these exchanges from Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. It's not always safe."
Many local police stations are designated safe exchange locations for people meeting to buy and sell such items.