Sarasota deputies make arrest in restaurant manager death

6:00 PM, Jul 24, 2013   |    comments
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Sarasota, Florida - Sarasota deputies say they've arrested a known Manatee County gang member with a violent history including weapons charges for the death of Andrew Tian

Juan Rodriguez is being held at the Sarasota County Jail without bond on manslaughter charges. While the arrest brings the victim's family relief, they say it's the first step to seeking justice.

"This man took my tomorrows away," says Marylou Anderson. Marylou says she and Andrew had been living together since 2011.

"He was an amazing artist," says Marylou as she proudly shows off Andrew's sketches, including a portrait he did of her. "He was kind, everyone knows he was kind. He'd give the shirt off his back."

He'd even pay a customer's bill, says Marylou. But on the night of July 14 when three young men ran out on their bill of $35.31 at the New Dynasty restaurant where Andrew managed, he went after them to collect.

"One punch" is all it took, says Sheriff Knight, for Juan Rodriguez to knock Andrew to the pavement and hit his head. It's an injury that would later take his life.

Sheriff Knight says, "It's a shame. He kills an innocent man who was trying to earn a living."

Andrew worked to put his 22-year-old son through pharmaceutical school. Marylou says, "He will finish school. He will fulfill his father's dream."

As for the two other men with Rodriguez that night, the sheriff says Bryan Lopez and Fernando Rico are now witnesses in the case for voluntarily coming forward and telling deputies what happened that night.

Andrew Tian's memorial service is Sunday at the United Church of Christ in Sarasota.  Marylou says a trust fund is being set up for his son to help pay for his education.

Isabel Mascarenas

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