‘Shoot his s— up:’ Travis Rudolph claims girlfriend sent men to kill him on night he was arrested for murder

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Aug 28, 2021 9:00 AM

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Travis Rudolph’s angry girlfriend told some men to go to his home and “shoot his s— up,” according to court documents. It turned into a brawl, and Rudolph opened fire with his AR-15.

Prosecutors call it murder. The former Florida State football star claims he acted in self-defense.

It’s the first accounting of Rudolph’s side of the April 7 shooting outside his Lake Park home, which sent shockwaves through his Palm Beach County community and generated national headlines.

Rudolph, 25, who attended Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach and briefly played in the NFL, once seemed on the path for stardom, but now finds himself potentially facing life in prison.

Former Cardinal Newman and Florida State star football player Travis Rudolph was arrested in Palm Beach County on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first degree murder.

Former Cardinal Newman and Florida State star football player Travis Rudolph was arrested in Palm Beach County on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first degree murder. (PBSO)

Family members of Jean-Jacques told the South Florida Sun Sentinel in May that he went to Rudolph’s home that April night with the three other men looking to act as a “peacemaker” after Rudolph and his girlfriend got into a physical altercation.

However, Rudolph’s attorney, Marc Shiner, said in court filings that Rudolph feared for his life after the men arrived and was justified in opening fire, invoking the “stand your ground” defense. Shiner is asking for the charges to be dismissed.

According to court documents filed by Shiner, the trouble began hours before the shooting when Rudolph’s girlfriend, Dominique Jones, took his phone and claimed he was cheating on her. “In a fit of rage and jealousy,” she hit him over the head with a tequila bottle and destroyed his phone and a video game console, the filing said.

Jones then called two men, whose names are redacted, saying Rudolph had disrespected her and slammed her to the ground. She later texted both men, telling them to come to Rudolph’s home and “shoot his s— up,” according to the filing. Before the shooting, she called Rudolph’s sister, saying she was sending over men “to kill Rudolph,” Shiner claimed.

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The four men showed up at Rudolph’s house near midnight, leading to a brawl outside Rudolph’s home that lasted for several minutes. Accounts differ over who started the fight. According to Shiner, Rudolph was immediately attacked after leaving the home. However, in the arrest report, one of the men told police that Rudolph was “immediately combative and confrontational” after stepping outside.

During the fight, one of the men allegedly pointed a gun at Rudolph’s brother, Darryl, which prompted Rudolph to run inside and grab his rifle, according to the filing.

Rudolph chased after the men, who then got into their car. Shiner claims two of the men were pointing guns at Rudolph, so he sprayed the car with his AR-15 rifle, firing 38 rounds within seconds.

One man was shot multiple times and ran away as the three others sped off in their car. According to the filing, the injured man tossed his gun while he was running, but police later found the weapon.

Jean-Jacques, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, died on the way to St. Mary’s Medical Center. Police did not find a second gun.

Rudolph remains in Palm Beach County jail after being denied bond. Prosecutors previously announced they will not be seeking the death penalty in the case. Rudolph will make his next appearance on Nov. 8 for a “stand your ground” hearing.

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