Former Los Angeles police officer who fled to Mexico after fatal 2015 shooting convicted of murder

by Editorial Team

A former Los Angeles police officer who fled to Mexico after gunning down a man during an argument outside a bar in 2015 has been found guilty in the slaying, officials said.

Henry Solis, a former Marine who also served in Iraq, was convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder for the shooting death of 23-year-old truck driver Salome Rodriguez Jr., according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The 32-year-old had only been with the Los Angeles Police Department for nine months when he crossed paths with Rodriguez at a Pomona bar the night of March 13, 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Their encounter quickly turned violent and culminated in Solis fatally shooting Rodriguez. From there, the once promising police officer fled to Mexico, sparking an international manhunt.

Authorities located him two month later in the border city of Juarez, where he was arrested by Mexican police on May 26, 2015. He was then deported back to the United States to face criminal charges in Rodriguez’s death.

During his trial, Solis alleged he was trying arrest his victim at the time of his shooting. He testified Rodriquez and another man sexually assaulted him inside the bar’s restroom, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

He claimed the two men held him down and rifled through his pockets before pulling his pants down and penetrating him with a beer bottle.

“Someone hits me over [the] the head,” he said. “I’m seeing little specks of light. I’m on the toilet, I’m on my knees, and someone has their knee pressing on my back. I turn my head and I see Rodriguez, and he points a gun in my face.”

Defense Attorney Bradley Brunon said he was disappointed by the conviction, adding that Solis was also a victim in the incident.

“Henry Solis is a good person. He spent years serving the country honorably [and] would have made a terrific peace officer. Unfortunately, this event occurred and derailed his plans” he told reporters.

“We felt that the evidence didn’t warrant a murder conviction — perhaps manslaughter on a theory of provocation or imperfect self- defense. The jury didn’t agree.”

The victim’s mother, Lidia Rodriguez, said she too was a little disappointed, but she had been hoping for a first-degree murder conviction instead.

“We prayed, and we believed in God and Junior,” she told KABC-TV. “Today I prayed to him and the Virgin Mary, and it was happy news.”

Solis, who was off duty at the time of the shooting, faces up to 40 years in prison. He is slated to be sentenced on March 11.


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