Cutting in front of the line for the bathroom may have prompted an argument last month that resulted in a deadly shooting outside a south Bakersfield sports bar, according to court documents.
The line cutting is named as a possible motive in the killing of 33-year-old Christopher Isaac Rodriguez at the Red Zone Sports Bar & Grill on Panama Lane, the recently released documents filed by Bakersfield police say.
Another possibility, a witness told investigators, is one of the men said something about the other one's sister. And yet a third possibility involved "gang stuff," according to a witness.
It was early Jan. 21 and about four people were waiting to use the men's bathroom at Red Zone. When Christopher Isaac Rodriguez cut in line, one of the other men confronted him, according to the documents.
Rodriguez said, "Hey, I'm security," briefly argued with the other man then used the bathroom, the documents say. After he left, two men near the front of the line talked about "hitting him up," a witness told police.
Around 1:30 a.m., shortly after bartenders began telling people to finish their drinks as the establishment was closing, there was a brief fight between Rodriguez and other men in the parking lot, the documents say.
Security broke it up.
As Luis Pineda, one of the men involved, walked away he said, "If you keep talking (expletive), we gonna come back and pop you," according to the documents.
Minutes later, shots rang out in the parking lot and Rodriguez collapsed. According to the documents, Rodriguez suffered two gunshot wounds to the chest, one to his right thigh above the knee and one to his right arm above the elbow.
Several witnesses identified Pineda as the shooter.
Police arrested Pineda, 25, later that morning at a residence in Lamont. He's being held on $1.5 million on bail after pleading not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Witnesses provided a description of both Pineda and the gray 2007 Jeep Commander he fled in. A .40-caliber handgun was found under a rose bush in a front yard flower bed at the residence, the documents say.
Casings of the same caliber were found in the Red Zone parking lot.
Pineda repeatedly denied involvement in the shooting. He told investigators he left the bar before it occurred.
His statements don't mesh with those of multiple witnesses who identified him as the gunman. Several witnesses pointed him out during a lineup, the documents say.
No gang charges are listed against Pineda, but police said in the documents that comments made by him that night indicate he may be affiliated with the Colonia Bakers.
A witness told investigators Pineda wasn't in line for the bathroom when the earlier confrontation occurred, but was afterward seen hanging out with the other men who argued with Rodriguez.
A security guard at Red Zone told police Rodriguez wore a shirt with "security" printed on it, but he didn't work at the establishment. He said Rodriguez and three others who work at a nightclub called "Brix" entered the bar together.
Rodriguez did not appear intoxicated, nor did he seem to be looking for a fight, a witness told police.
Pineda is not charged with drug offenses, but based on items in his vehicle, investigators believe he was planning to sell cocaine.
Found in a Liz Claiborne bag in the center console of Pineda's vehicle were a clear plastic bag containing seven grams of suspected cocaine, a bag containing numerous ziplock bags with a green "$" symbol printed on them, two spoons with a white residue and a digital gram scale with white residue, according to the documents.
Investigators say in the documents Pineda was in possession of a "large" amount of cash upon his arrest, and there was enough cocaine in the vehicle for roughly 73 doses.
Pineda is next due in court March 14.