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Cross Bronx road rage driver talks to NYPD about deadly shooting

Jun 04, 2023

A Bronx man dodged criminal charges Wednesday after surrendering to police investigating the fatal shooting of a beloved auto shop worker after a late-night borough fender-bender last week, his lawyer said.

Mohammad Al-Wazani, 21, turned himself in at the 46th Precinct stationhouse in the Bronx after arriving in a red tracksuit shortly after 10 a.m. as the probe into the homicide last Friday night continued.

Three hours later, defense attorney Nicholas Ramcharitar said his client faced no criminal charges in the case where he drove the wanted killer back to the crash site. He declined comment on whether Al-Wazani had cooperated with police searching for the murder weapon.

Road rage victim Fausto Rodriguez, 40. (Obtained by Daily News)

No arrests have yet been made in the death of Fausto Rodriguez, 40, a father of four, after the collision on the Cross Bronx Expressway.

“Mr. Al-Wazani wanted to surrender as quickly as humanly possible,” said Ramcharitar. “My client had absolutely zero idea of what was going on. ... He wasn’t aware of what was going to happen.”

The lethal encounter occurred Friday after a Honda Accord was rear-ended by a Ford Edge just before 11 p.m., with the four riders inside the second vehicle initially bolting from the crash scene in Morris Heights.

Al-Wazani arrived later after getting a call from one of the quartet, with the lawyer describing the other person as “just someone from the neighborhood.”

Police secure a vehicle on the southbound lane of the Cross Bronx Expressway at the Jerome Ave exit, in which a person was fatally shot on Friday. (Sam Costanza/for New York Daily News)

Al-Wazani believed the caller was possibly driving without his insurance card or registration and needed a ride to pick up the paperwork.

“He had no idea [the man] was violent, what his tendencies were,” said Ramcharitar. “No idea of his record, just another kid he grew up with.”

Rodriguez’s sister Emely said her sibling was called to the scene by friends hopeful the mechanic could assist with their damaged car.

He was instead shot near the Jerome Ave. exit after a brief argument and died a short time later at St. Barnabas Hospital.

Mohammad Al-Wazani, 21, right, is accompanied by his attorney Nicholas Ramcharita into the 46th Precinct Wednesday, August 30, 2023 in Manhattan, New York. (Barry Williams/for New York Daily News)

The victim’s sister believes Rodriguez was killed for recording cell phone video of the accident’s aftermath.

Rodriguez, a native of the Dominican Republic, was known to friends for his calm demeanor and good nature, with a kind word for all. Emely Rodriguez said part of her brother’s daily routine was going onto What’s App each morning to post inspirational videos.