In the quiet darkness early on the morning of Nov. 27, two brothers walked along a White Center street talking about their plans to make their family proud by getting good-paying jobs.
When two teens or young men approached Michael and Saul Delfin-Rodriguez
and demanded to know which gang they belonged to, the brothers reacted the way they normally did when someone wrongfully accused them of gang membership — they walked away.
But within seconds, gunfire erupted and 22-year-old Michael Delfin-Rodriguez let out a yell before falling to the ground. As Saul Delfin-Rodriguez, 24, wrapped his arms around his mortally wounded brother, the attackers took off.
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Saul Delfin-Rodriguez, 24, and his younger brother, Ulysses Delfin-Rodriguez, 17, stood before the media Wednesday to recount that incident and plead for anyone with information about their brother’s killer to come forward.
“My brother was a good person. He didn’t deserve that,” Saul Delfin-Rodriguez said during a news conference at the King County Sheriff’s Office in Seattle. “My brother is the last person who should’ve died that day because he was all about family.”
Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Akers called the shooting “a case of mistaken identity.”
“The brothers do not have any gang affiliation. This was completely unprovoked,” Akers said, adding that investigators believe the suspects were gang members because one of them was dressed in red, a color often affiliated with the Bloods.
Michael Delfin-Rodriguez was the second eldest of four children. He loved animals and spending time with his family. He most recently worked as a truck driver but had bigger goals to find a permanent career, his brother said.
Saul Delfin-Rodriguez said that he and his brothers had grown used to being asked about gang affiliation when they were out near their family home in White Center.
“We don’t mess around with any of that,” he said Wednesday. “We always took pride in ourselves that we don’t get involved with any of that mess.”
The brothers were at Southwest 108th Street near Second Avenue Southwest around 2:15 a.m. when Michael Delfin-Rodriguez was shot. Saul Delfin-Rodriguez said they often went out at that time of night so he could ride his bike and his brother could skateboard in the empty streets. He was pushing his bike and his brother carried his skateboard as the pair walked from a 7-Eleven store. Saul Delfin-Rodriguez said that he didn’t feel intimidated by the two strangers. “They looked like little kids to us,” he said. “It was completely random.”
Akers said that at least one pulled a firearm and fired several shots. They are believed to have driven off in a light-colored sedan.
Anyone with information on the gunmen
is asked to call sheriff’s detectives at 206-296-3311.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.