Ramon Rodriguez faced a judge Monday on multiple charges, including murder, breach of the peace and tampering with evidence, in connection with the shooting death of club owner Dennis Santos late Saturday night.
“It’s a big loss, a big loss to his family and friends,” said Harvey Brar, who has a business next door to the Salsa Tropical Social Club in Santos.
Court documents show Rodriguez was upset to see a former girlfriend with another man at the club. A fight between the two men broke out in the parking lot.
Rodriguez left the scene with his current girlfriend and then the couple returned, officials said.
Reportedly, that’s when Santos tried to get Rodriguez to leave, but Rodriguez allegedly started screaming and firing a gun at the crowd outside. Santos was shot and taken by private vehicle to the hospital where he died, according to the documents.
Mayor Neil O’Leary spoke about the incident on Monday.
“The owner tried to console the individual [who] pulled out a gun and shot him – there’s no easy way to tell – and killed him,” O’Leary said.
Court documents show Rodriguez and the woman were charged with breach of the peace. Bail for Rodriguez has been set at $10,000.
Bail for the murder charge has been set at $2 million, and that case will be moved to “Part A” court for more serious crimes.
Santos’ death was just one of two shooting deaths involving Waterbury shop owners over the weekend. Early Saturday morning, Michael Anderson, the owner of Mikey’s Jamaican Restaurant, got into an argument with Sebastian Olavarria. According to police, Anderson shot and killed Olavarria.
O’Leary added that the argument stemmed from the parking lot.
“Both of these homicides were emotional,” O’Leary said.
The mayor said they will continue to fight gun violence in the city and he will continue to push for more help at the federal and local levels with tougher gun laws and penalties.
“It’s awful and it’s happening not just in Waterbury, it’s happening everywhere,” O’Leary said. “The amount of violence, especially gun violence, is absolutely mind-boggling.”