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Arrests made in burning of bouncer

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Posted at 2:02 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 19:50:52-05

Three people have been arrested in connection with last spring’s attack on a Port St. Lucie bouncer that left him with serious burns.

Ivan Rodriguez, now charged with attempted first degree murder, was on the road for nearly 10 months. 

He was tracked down in Puerto Rico by the US Marshals.  

Monday, his mother and girlfriend were arrested for sending him money.  In Puerto Rico, Rodriguez was using the alias of Gary Wilson, a deceased uncle.

On April 12th of last year, Brian Johnston, a bouncer at Neely's Grog House on Bayshore Boulevard, had already thrown out Ivan Rodriguez from the bar for not paying his tab. 

Detectives say the surveillance video shows Rodriguez coming back and throwing  a cup of gasoline on Johnston.  The ensuing scuffle ends with Johnston on fire and Rodriguez on the run.

Port St. Lucie detectives used cell phone records and Western Union transactions to arrest Rodriguez’s girlfriend, Patricia Ambrose, Monday.

Rodriguez’s mother, Shirley Rodriguez, was also arrested.  Both women are charged with being an accessory after the fact.

After the fire, Johnston was burned on more than 30-percent of his body.  His friends say he’s working his way back to a complete recovery.

“His mood is very good.  He’s still holding in there.  He’s doing therapy and recovering quite well.  But it’s one of those traumatic experiences where everybody has problems with it and it’s affected everyone around here too," said friend David Pollock.

Detectives say Rodriguez received about $1,000 in Puerto Rico.  When they questioned Rodriguez’s mother about why she was helping her son, she told them he was her son and she loved him.

Rodriguez will be extradited back to the US at some point.