Lawrence, Massachusetts

From the North Andover Eagle-Tribune of March 30, 2007

Vigilante cabbie cleared of attempted murder charge

A Lawrence cab driver, who took the law into his own hands and shot an alleged robber in the back, has been cleared of attempted murder charges.

Bienvenido Rodriguez shot the man with a semiautomatic handgun after being robbed at knifepoint on Parker Street in January.

Police disagreed with Rodriguez’s vigilante action and charged him with attempted murder.

But this week, the Essex County grand jury in Salem declined to indict Rodriguez, 36, of Camden Street, Methuen.

However, the same grand jury indicted the man who was shot.

Herman Irene, 36, of 25 Foster St., Lawrence, faces a charge of armed robbery, said Stephen O’Connell, spokesman for the Essex County district attorney’s office.

“There will be no prosecution of Mr. Rodriguez,” O’Connell said.

Yesterday, Lawrence police Chief John Romero said Rodriguez would have been facing less serious charges if he had pulled his gun while the robbery was being committed, instead of waiting until Irene was running away and no longer a threat.

Irene was running down Parker Street when Rodriguez drew his .40-caliber Smith &Wesson semiautomatic pistol and fired at him.

The bullet passed through Irene’s body narrowly missing his spine and major arteries.

He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital then airlifted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital were he underwent surgery.

Police charged Irene with armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Rodriguez was charged with armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and discharging a firearm within city limits.

Rodriguez told investigators immediately after the shooting that he did not deliberately try to hit Irene and only shot to scare him, police said.

Romero said yesterday he was not surprised the grand jury did not indict Rodriguez, but said it would be up to Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon to decide whether to restore Rodriguez’s license to carry firearms. Methuen issued the gun license originally.

(More)

In many states, this action by Rodriguez would probably be prosecuted.

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