Man campaigning for Sweetwater mayoral candidate says someone shot at him

'Obviously this was fabricated,' current mayor says

By Liane Morejon - Reporter

SWEETWATER, Fla. - A South Florida man claims someone shot at him over the weekend while he was out campaigning for his candidate for mayor of Sweetwater.

But his opponent's campaign is accusing him of filing a false police report.

Ricardo Rodriguez's van has become a rolling campaign ad for Sweetwater mayoral candidate Jose Diaz.

But Rodriguez said his van was shot at as he drove down Southwest 106th Avenue and Sixth Street around 9:45 a.m. Sunday.

"Obviously this is something that has been fabricated," Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez said. 

Lopez isn't buying Rodriguez's story and said it might be a political stunt, pointing out that Rodriguez did not report the shooting until the next day, and only did so by telling a city commissioner. 

"It's really sad when you have to fabricate stunts like this to try to play victim, to try to win a political race like this," Lopez said.  

Rodriguez said he didn't initially report the shooting because he was scared of police retaliation. 

"We are apolitical and we are treating this as a potential crime," Sweetwater Police Chief Placido Diaz said.

Diaz said his investigation will be fair, but he, too, is skeptical.

"I have a hard time justifying how two rounds can be fired in such a manner where they're consistent with one another, and the statements that were given were that the vehicle was in motion," he said.

Lopez's opponent, Jose Diaz, is defending Rodriguez. 

"We believe that is an act of terrorism, if you analyze it," he said. 

Jose Diaz doesn't outright blame Lopez or his campaign, but he isn't ruling it out either. 

"I don't think the mayor or his supporters are going to go to the extreme of doing this, but anything could happen," he said.

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