Boca Raton Bartender Slain During Robbery

Friends look for answers after beloved bartender shot and killed during robbery

By Steve Litz
|  Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013  |  Updated 9:22 AM EDT
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Friends and coworkers are looking for answers after a beloved bartender and manager of a popular Boca Raton restaurant was gunned down during an armed robbery. Rafael Rodriguez, 46, was killed while on the job Friday night at Josephine's Italian Restaurant at 5751 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton Police said. Friends Carter McDonald and Lucia Franco discuss the shooting.

Friends and coworkers are looking for answers after a beloved bartender and manager of a popular Boca Raton restaurant was gunned down during an armed robbery. Rafael Rodriguez, 46, was killed while on the job Friday night at Josephine's Italian Restaurant at 5751 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton Police said. Friends Carter McDonald and Lucia Franco discuss the shooting.

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Friends and coworkers are looking for answers after a beloved bartender and manager of a popular Boca Raton restaurant was gunned down during an armed robbery.

Rafael Rodriguez, 46, was killed while on the job Friday night at Josephine's Italian Restaurant at 5751 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton Police said.

"I'm still in shock, I can't believe it, I just can't believe it," friend Carter McDonald said. "One of the nicest guys that I've ever met in South Florida is gone in such a tragic fashion and it's truly senseless."

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Police say it was around midnight when four masked men armed with handguns stormed in through the restaurant's back door and began to rob employees and customers.

As they were leaving, Rodriguez exchanged words with one of the suspects, who shot and killed him on the way out, police said.

Throughout the weekend, loyal customers and friends set up a makeshift memorial outside the restaurant and paid their respects.

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Lucia Franco, who owns the oriental rug store next door, has a question many are asking.

"They already got whatever they want, why did they have to kill that young guy?" she asked.

Police are asking anyone with information to call the Boca Raton Police Department at 561-368-6201 or Palm Beach Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS.

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