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Former Florida State star Travis Rudolph had rifle at time of shooting, witness says

Ex-FSU, NFL wide receiver faces murder, attempted murder charges
Travis Rudolph first court appearance after murder arrest
Posted at 9:31 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 18:51:41-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former Florida State football star Travis Rudolph used a rifle in a Lake Park shooting that left one person dead and another person injured, a witness told deputies.

Rudolph, 25, was arrested early Wednesday on one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office probable cause affidavit, Rudolph shot two people during an altercation outside a home in the 500 block of North Redwood Drive in Lake Park just after midnight Wednesday.

One of the victims fled after the shooting and was later found fatally wounded in the front passenger seat of a car near 40th Street and Broadway Avenue in West Palm Beach. The driver and back seat passenger were also in the car, but they were uninjured.

Another victim was found with gunshot wounds at the shooting scene in Lake Park.

According to the affidavit, one of the people in the car told detectives that he had been contacted by Rudolph's girlfriend, who told him that she had been in a fight with Rudolph.

The man and three others then drove to Rudolph's home to speak with him, but Rudolph was "immediately combative and confrontational," the affidavit said.

He then said Rudolph and another individual "started fighting" with everyone in the car.

After several minutes of fighting, the man tried to get everyone back in the car and was preparing to leave when Rudolph went inside his home and soon returned, running behind them with a gun and opening fire at the car, the affidavit said.

North Redwood Drive home where fatal shooting involving Travis Rudolph occurred
This is the North Redwood Drive home in Lake Park where a fatal shooting occurred. Former Florida State and NFL wide receiver Travis Rudolph was arrested in connection with the crime.

The driver said he heard someone in the car say that he was "hit" and realized that one of the people in their group wasn't in the car. He continued to drive toward a hospital, but the car broke down and they called 911.

Detectives went to St. Mary's Medical Center to speak to the surviving victim, who corroborated the story.

Rudolph's girlfriend also told detectives that she had been in a fight with Rudolph hours earlier, but she wasn't there at the time of the shooting.

Another witness to the shooting said he saw a group of people fighting in the front yard of Rudolph's home, heard gunshots and saw Rudolph holding a rifle.

Rudolph refused to speak with detectives.

"There's got to be another side," Irene Malanga, who said she has known Travis Rudolph for most of his life, told WPTV. "This can't be what it was or appears to be, to the news or anybody else."

A star wide receiver at Cardinal Newman High School, Rudolph went on to play at Florida State. He hauled in 153 catches for 2,311 yards and 18 touchdowns in three seasons with the Seminoles from 2014-16.

Florida State Seminoles receiver Travis Rudolph vs. Florida Gators in 2016
Florida State wide receiver Travis Rudolph runs past the Florida defense on a 46-yard touchdown reception during the second half Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State defeated Florida 31-13.

Rudolph left school early for the NFL, spending two seasons with the New York Giants. He signed with the Canadian Football League's Winnipeg Blue Bombers last year but was released Wednesday after his arrest.

"I can tell you this young man is honorable and caring and just a good young man, a good young man," Malanga said. "There's something wrong here. Something doesn't add up. Something is missing. I'm telling you, something is missing."

During his initial court appearance Thursday morning, Rudolph told a Palm Beach County judge that he intends to hire a private attorney to represent him.

Rudolph was denied bond and will remain behind bars until his next court appearance.

"What happens next is the case will be sent downtown and will be presented to a grand jury," Judge Charles Burton told Rudolph.

The judge also ruled that Rudolph cannot have any contact with any of the victims' families and can't have any weapons.