Witness speaks out following deadly shooting inside Florida Applebee's
LADY LAKE, Fla. - Jack Rodrigues was on his first day of work at Applebee’s in Lady Lake when gunfire broke out there.
This past weekend, he finally reached his breaking point when he says the man who pulled the trigger came back to the restaurant. Friday morning, he sent his boss a text message saying he doesn’t feel safe at work, and he has to quit.
"Every night, he’ll jump out of bed, he’ll wake up crying," Jack’s wife Brandie told FOX 35. "I just grab him and hold him and say, ‘Everything’s going to be okay. This is going to get better for us.’"
Brandie happened to be on the phone with Jack when the shooting happened.
"I open the door and I hear this pop-pop-pop," Jack recounted.
Jack says when he first heard gunfire, he didn’t really process what was happening. He’s hard of hearing and thought at first that the sound might be fireworks.
"All I remember is screaming. ‘Please just run. I can’t lose my husband tonight.’ Because we thought they were going after him," explained Brandie.
The state attorney’s office says that the sound was Dishaun Hudson firing three shots into the air after getting in a fight in the parking lot. Law enforcement says Hudson had also been fighting with people earlier in the evening. Jack didn't know it was Hudson shooting. He says after he heard the noise, Hudson, a stranger, put his arm around him and told him everything was going to be okay.
Dishaun Hudson was killed by a customer at an Applebees. The State Attorneys Office says that customer is protected by Stand Your Ground Laws. (Courtesy: John Colman)
Surveillance video shows everyone rushing inside the Applebee’s. Hudson goes in too.
A moment later, "Pow, pow, pow," remembered Brandie. "Jack’s screaming, ‘He’s got a gun, he’s gonna kill him!’"
Hudson started emptying his pockets. A customer with a concealed carry permit shot him around a dozen times. The state attorney’s office just announced that although Hudson was unarmed when he was shot, the customer is protected by stand-your-ground laws. He won’t face any charges.
The state attorney’s office explained in a memo, which read in part, "It is not the defendant’s burden to prove he was acting in self-defense, rather the burden of proof is on the State to show that it was not self-defense."
The Rodrigues family wishes the whole thing never happened.
"It makes me very sick. I don’t feel right," said Jack.
Jack and Brandie didn't know Hudson at the time of the shooting but have since been in contact with his family. They learned he was a beloved father and boyfriend.