SARASOTA -- A known Bradenton gang member has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a Sarasota restaurant manager.
Juan De Dios Rodriguez, 20, was arrested Tuesday and charged with Taian "Andrew" Tian's death.
Rodriguez is reportedly one of three men who left the New Dynasty restaurant, 6131 S. Tamiami Trail, without paying July 14 for their $35 meal. Tian reportedly chased after the three men and a punch knocked him to the ground.
Tian died later in a local hospital from a blunt trauma to the head.
"This individual striking him was really over the fact that he did not want to pay a $35.31 tab at the restaurant," Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight said Wednesday at a press conference. "So the death of a man is over $35.31."
The two men who "dined and dashed" with Rodriguez are cooperating with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office and being treated as witnesses, Knight said.
Rodriguez was located in Bradenton with the help of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office. He is being held in Sarasota County Jail with no bond.
"I think it's unfortunate that he kills this innocent man who is doing nothing more than trying to earn a living being part of the management team at New Dynasty," Knight said. "A family man who has a child in college, who is moving toward a career, who is no longer here for his child."
Rodriguez is a documented gang member in Manatee County with a violent his
tory that includes multiple weapons charges. Rodriguez was convicted as an adult of a second-degree felony for shooting a shotgun out of a moving vehicle in Manatee County in 2012.
Rodriguez was a juvenile when he committed most of his past offenses so they are sealed from the public. The juvenile charges include offenses in 2005, 2009 and 2010.
Authorities in Manatee County are familiar with Rodriguez.
"His name has come up in several of our investigations," Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dave Bristow said.
Bradenton Police Gang Unit Detective Ben Pieper also said he also knew Rodriguez's name.
Rodriguez is a member of the SUR-13, which is one of an estimated 20 gangs active in Bradenton.
The SUR-13 are a predominately Hispanic gang whose origin is in Southern California. The gang aligns itself with the Mexican Mafia. There are about 350 members and associates locally of the SUR-13 with some as young as 10 years old.
Tian's girlfriend, MaryLou Anderson, spoke at Wednesday's news conference and thanked the sheriff's office for its assistance and tenderness following the incident.
"This man took my tomorrows away and I hope that the moment when they ask how should he be judged, how should be put away, how long, that I get a chance to take his tomorrow's away," Anderson said. "His son thanks you, his sister in China thanks you. Hearts have been broken around the world for Andrew."
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her @JDeLeon1012.