Fidel Rodriguez Canchola is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which will determine whether the 34-year-old foreign national is residing in the United States legally or not. Rodriguez is also accused of the fatal accidental shooting death of a 5-year-old daughter of a family friend at a New Year’s party in Athens, Alabama.
 
Rodriguez was being held at the Limestone County Jail in connection with the death of Regina Hernandez, who had come to the party from Huntsville. He had been held with bail set at $20,000 on a misdemeanor charge of criminally negligent homicide following his January 1 arrest.
 
Forty-eight hours after posting bail last week, federal immigration agents came to pick him up after having issued a detainer request to Limestone County authorities. The federal agency became involved once local authorities could not accurately ascertain Rodriguez’s immigration status.
 
Rodriguez fired several shots from the yard of his home in Athens to celebrate the advent of the new year at about midnight, according to authorities. More than two dozen people were on hand for the festivities. When the 5-year-old girl went outside of the Rodriguez home, she was struck by the hurtling bullet. 
 
Rodriguez fled the scene but was apprehended just hours later by sheriff’s deputies. Rodriguez’s wife has been in contact with the family of the victim and said that she is heartbroken over the death. She said that Rodriguez had treated the dead girl like a niece. 
 
Currently, Rodriguez is scheduled to appear before the Limestone County Circuit Court on February 7. However, it is not known whether his current custody by ICE will hamper his scheduled appearance where he is expected to enter his plea. If convicted on the current charges, he could face little more than one year in a county jail.


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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