North Texas

Cold Case 2015: Joshua Rodriguez Murdered at High-School Graduation Party

Gunfire erupts at a high school graduation party, killing a man. There were multiple witnesses, but no one is saying who did it.

Joshua Rodriguez, 21, died and three others were wounded on June 7, 2015. It's been nearly two years, and the case is now cold.

Photos reveal an infectious smile of a young man who captured many hearts. Rodriquez was the kind of guy who made friends a priority. In fact, he had too many to count.

Ironically, it would be those with whom he loved spending the most time, who in end broke that loyalty.

"Nobody wants to come forward. Everyone is keeping quiet," said Rodriguez's step-father, Paul Kennedy.

The silence has paralyzed Rodriguez's family for nearly two years. His step-father has been on a crusade for answers since the day Rodriguez was shot and killed.

Rodriguez was attending his girlfriend's high school graduation party on Palacios Avenue. Everyone was gathered on the front lawn when a fight broke out, and then from the street, someone pulled out an assault rifle and opened fire on the crowd.

NBC 5 obtained the 911 calls made that night. It was pure chaos, with multiple victims and chilling pleas for help. Four people were shot.

"I need and ambulance! Four people are shot, now!" one of the witnesses was heard saying in the call to 911 dispatchers.

"Do you know if the guys that were shooting, if they were black, white or Hispanic?" asked the dispatcher, but the caller didn't answer her.

It seemed no one was able to answer that question, or at least didn't tell dispatchers, as Rodriguez was slumped over on the curb with a bullet lodged in his spine.

He died that day, and the others who were shot recovered from their wounds.

Jennifer Melcher lost her only child.

"He was my baby," Melcher said.

Rodriguez had his whole life ahead of him, and he was following in his mother's footsteps, studying to become a nurse. He was also in a serious relationship with Alyssa, whose graduation they were celebrating that night. Family members shared a picture of the couple that was captured just three days before he was murdered.

Rodriguez's family thinks he was likely not the intended target.

"People were saying, 'Man, you shot your friend, you shot your friend,' which they were friends in high school, but nobody would come out and say, 'You shot Josh,'" said Kennedy.

Multiple witnesses – the people heard in the 911 calls – were brought to Dallas police headquarters on the night of the shooting. While all of them admitted to being there, no one would fully admit to seeing the gunman.

Detective Michael Yeric showed NBC 5 the Rodriguez cold case file. Although there isn't much in the way of evidence – no recovered weapon and no DNA – there are witness statements and most of them were from Rodriguez's friends.

"We've kind of run across a bit of a road block with cooperation with people," Yeric said. "People are willing to give me a name of who did it, but when it comes time to have someone come in and give me actual testimony, we're coming up dry. No one is willing to do that," he said.

"Especially with Hispanics, nobody wants to be called a snitch," said Melcher, Rodriguez's mother. "It's just hard that there's people out there that know, especially his so-called friends, and know what happened and who did it don't want to come forward."

While Rodriguez's family waits for the truth, so does police and the lead detective who knows the answer to a family's anguish lies somewhere on the outside.

"Sometime I wish I could just give up and be with him. Maybe things would be easier for me," Melcher said.

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction in Rodriguez's death.

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