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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 29, 2010

Security guard dies after trying to detain suspect

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Frank Rodrigues worked at the DFS Galleria Waikiki on Royal Hawaiian Avenue.

GREGORY YAMAMOTO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Frank Rodrigues

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Police are investigating the death of a security guard at DFS Galleria Waikiki following a struggle with a shoplifting suspect yesterday morning.

The victim was identified by family members as Frank Rodrigues, 46, an 18-year employee of the company and an Army veteran. Police classified the case as an unattended death pending the outcome of an autopsy.

Police said Rodrigues and another loss prevention officer confronted a 27-year-old man in the store at about 9:10 a.m. yesterday about a theft at the store Wednesday. A struggle ensued and police said the suspect assaulted the other guard.

After the two guards were able to subdue the suspect, police said, Rodrigues sat on a sofa and became unresponsive. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said Rodrigues did not fall or hit his head during the struggle, as was reported earlier yesterday. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault on the other officer, police said.

Rodrigues' wife, Sonnie, said her husband had diabetes and was on dialysis. "We'd been trying to tell him he could go on disability because of his dialysis," Sonnie Rodrigues said. "But he really loved his job."

She said she learned about the incident from her 22-year-old son after store officials had called to inform the family.

"He was crying and he said, 'Mom, you need to get down to Straub right now,' " she said. "But he was gone when I got there."

The couple have two children, the son and a daughter, 18.

Sonnie Rodrigues, 41, who works in the Island Life section of The Advertiser, said authorities had not given her any details about what happened.

DFS spokeswoman Sharon Weiner said, "It is a very sad day for all of us. He was well-known and very well-respected at DFS."

After the incident, DFS canceled a morning training session and set up grief counseling on-site, Weiner said.

Sonnie Rodrigues described her husband as a "joker" who liked to sing and was well-liked. She said his first few years at Duty Free were at the airport location, and that he had been at the company's loss prevention department in Waikīkī ever since.

Frank Rodrigues was born in Alaska and was a 1981 graduate of Roosevelt High School, his wife said. She said she was a high school senior in 1986 when she met Rodrigues, an Army recruiter at the time.

"He tried to recruit me," she said. "They came to the school to talk to the seniors about joining the Army. A friend and I went just to get out of class."

She said when she balked at taking the Army entrance exam, Rodrigues promised to take her to dinner if she did.

He kept his promise, but instead of joining the Army, she accepted his proposal and the two were married on Sept. 23 of that year.

Advertiser Staff writers Curtis Lum and Will Hoover contributed to this report.