A former prosecutor described him Thursday as a “time bomb” because seven years ago, he pointed a gun at a woman who simply wanted to read his electric meter.
On Wednesday, Kenneth Roop, 52, of Cape Coral, pointed a gun again, police say, and this time fired two shots, telling police he was “in fear.” He is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Nick Rainey, 30, who wanted to sell him frozen steaks and lobster.
Rainey, an employee of Blue Ribbon Steak and Seafood, had just knocked on Roop’s door at 1815 SW 30th Terrace and gotten no response when Roop pulled into the driveway, driving a pickup, according to an arrest report released Thursday.
Explaining his actions to police after the shooting, Roop said he became “more than a little nervous” as Rainey walked down the driveway toward his truck and appeared to have something in his hand.
As Rainey drew within 4 feet, Roop grabbed his 9mm Glock from his pocket and fired once, striking Rainey in the shoulder, he told police. Rainey fell to the ground, screaming, ‘You shot me,’ in what Roop described as an “antagonistic” manner, according to the report.
Roop said he was still in fear and thought Rainey was reaching for something, so he shot Rainey once more in the back of the head, “for effect,” the report said. A company order brochure and cell phone were found near Rainey’s body.
Roop told detectives Rainey should have respected his three “No Trespassing” signs and explained he didn’t warn Rainey after pulling his weapon because, “I’m not going to give him the chance to do something to me; I was in fear.” He told police he believes he possesses 14 firearms.
A similar situation
Seven years ago, Roop pulled a weapon and threatened a power company meter reader who had walked onto his property in Wildwood, south of Ocala, according to former prosecutor Ray Sotomayor.
Sotomayor led the state’s case against Roop in 2005, when he was charged with improper exhibition of a weapon.
Sotomayor said the uniformed meter reader approached his home to perform her job when she was confronted by Roop, who was aiming his gun directly at her. He said she was terrified.
“I have no doubt he pointed it directly at her heart,” he said. “This guy had a screw loose.”
He said Roop’s outlook was similar to “militia-minded, anti-government” types and that he was obsessed with the idea of guarding his home. Sotomayor recalled Roop saying: “I have a right to protect my property and my land. Nobody need come on there.”
“I knew this guy was a time bomb, I really did,” Sotomayor said. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t get him convicted.”
Roop was found not guilty by a jury. It is the only charge on Roop’s record, according to his attorney, Marquin Rinard.
He was just selling food
John Godfrey, who was selling meat with Rainey on Wednesday, said Rainey had no idea what was coming.
“That’s the eerie part,” Godfrey said. “There was no warning; there was no yelling.”
Once Rainey lay face down on the driveway, bleeding after the first shot, Godfrey said Roop sat in his truck for a few seconds before pointing his weapon once more at the back of Rainey’s head.
“That’s murder, execution-style,” he said. “The guy showed no emotion whatsoever.”
Donna Perillo, who lived two doors down from Roop for about a year, said he was known as “the nut job from the block” and had called police several times on neighborhood children playing in the street near his home.
Perillo said the children, between the ages of 4 and 8, would ride their bikes up and down the street.
“He kept saying if they step foot on my property, they’re trespassing,” she said.
Each time, officers came and talked to the man and told him the kids were allowed to play in the street, she said.
“The cops came several times and said the man’s not all there, so have them pick a different turn-around point (on their bikes),” she said.
At his first appearance Thursday morning, where bond was denied, Roop politely answered the judge’s questions with “Yes, ma’am.” A woman who identified herself as Rainey’s mom yelled out, “He shot my son in cold blood.”
Rinard said his client attends a local church, though he declined to say which one, and is also a member of the Caloosa Dive Club, where he won underwater video and photo awards. Roop is self-employed as an underwater photographer, he said.
Roop is listed as the president of Ancient Island Educational Media. The company’s website describes Roop as a Christian, economist and cave diver.
Rinard said it was too early to tell whether Florida’s stand-your-ground law might be used as a defense.
“Obviously, whatever avenues are available, we will explore them,” he said.