POSTED: 01:32 a.m. HST, Mar 10, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 01:39 a.m. HST, Mar 10, 2013
The Sportsman Channel says it's deeply saddened by the shooting death in northwestern Montana of one of its TV hosts who traveled the world in search of big game and shared his adventures on his program "A Rifleman's Journal."
The company in a statement early Saturday said it will miss Gregory G. Rodriguez's "thoughtfulness, candor and dedication to encourage a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience for all."
Police said Rodriguez, 43, of Sugar Land, Texas, died Thursday in the town of Whitefish when he was shot by another man in an apparent jealous rage while the TV personality visited the shooter's wife.
An outpouring on social media has followed the death of Rodriguez, who combined his comfort in front of the camera and travels to exotic locations with his hunting and shooting expertise into a popular program. The Sportsman Channel said that in January "A Rifleman's Journal" won "Best Instructional/Educational Program" at the Sportsman Channel's Sportsman Choice Awards.
"We're all in a state of shock and disbelief right now," said David Kelly, a spokesman for the Houston Safari Club, of which Rodriguez was a member.
Rodriguez is survived by his wife, Lisa, and two children. In a statement issued Saturday, the family said he was in Montana on a business trip.
"Greg was a wonderful husband, father, son, brother and friend," the statement said. "We love him and will miss him dearly. Please respect the family in their time of mourning and allow them to grieve in peace."
Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial said that 41-year-old Wayne Bengston shot Rodriguez at about 10:30 p.m. at the home of his wife's mother. Dial said Bengston then beat his wife, took his 2-year-old son to a relative's house and drove to his home about 25 miles away in West Glacier, where he killed himself. Dial said Bengston's wife was treated at a hospital and released that night.
Dial said that Rodriguez and the woman, who works for a firearms manufacturer in the Flathead Valley, met at a trade show and struck up a casual relationship that police do not believe was romantic.
Rodriguez was the founder and CEO of Global Adventure Outfitters. That company declined to comment. According to the company's website, Rodriguez was a mortgage banker before a trip to Africa led him to alter course in the 1990s and start pursuing hunting for a living. He eventually traveled to 21 countries on six continents on that quest, the company said.
Ridler reported from Boise, Idaho. Associated Press writer Christopher Sherman contributed to this report from McAllen, Texas.