Outdoors TV show host killed in Whitefish murder-suicide

2013-03-09T06:30:00Z 2013-03-09T13:04:55Z Outdoors TV show host killed in Whitefish murder-suicide missoulian.com

WHITEFISH – A West Glacier man on Thursday night shot and killed the host of the Sportsman Channel show “A Rifleman’s Journal” while the television personality was visiting the shooter’s wife at a Whitefish residence, police said Friday.

Wayne Bengston, 41, then beat and pistol-whipped his wife before fleeing the residence with the couple’s 2-year-old son, Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial said. Bengston brought the unharmed boy to a relative’s home and drove to his home in West Glacier, where he shot and killed himself.

The shooting victim, Gregory C. Rodriguez, 43, of Sugar Land, Texas, had just arrived in the Flathead Valley on business and was visiting the woman at her mother’s house in Whitefish, on the 500 block of River Lakes Parkway.

Bengston entered the home around 10:20 p.m. and shot Rodriguez with a .44 caliber revolver from approximately three feet away, Dial said.

“The victim was here on business and had stopped to talk to a friend for the evening and have a glass of wine,” Dial said Friday. “Mr. Bengston came into the home and shot him immediately. We think that it was just a professional relationship, but perhaps the husband thought it was more than that. But that is just conjecture.”

The 2-year-old boy was in a downstairs bedroom sleeping and did not witness the shooting or the beating, Dial said. The child was taken into the custody of Child Protective Services and reunited with his mother.

The woman, who will not be identified, was treated and released from North Valley Hospital in Whitefish. Her injuries included a concussion, a black eye, swollen lips and contusions, Dial said.

Rodriguez died from multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, arm, shoulder and right leg, the police chief said.

Flathead County sheriff’s deputies and a SWAT team responded to Bengston’s home on Old Highway 2 in West Glacier and, after unsuccessful attempts to contact the man, entered the residence and found Bengston dead, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The revolver was recovered at the scene.

Dial said investigators believe Bengston shot himself immediately upon returning to his home.


As the host of “A Rifleman’s Journal,” Rodriguez chronicled his adventures as an outdoor writer, outfitter and marksmanship instructor. He traveled the globe in pursuit of big game, jet-setting to exotic locations in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the South Pacific, according to a biography posted on the Sportsman Channel’s website.

In addition to his television persona, Rodriguez was the founder and CEO of Global Adventure Outfitters, was an editor at Shooting Times Magazine and a contributing editor at Petersen’s Hunting, Guns & Ammo, and Dangerous Game. He has a wife and two children.

His death is the second shooting fatality in Whitefish in just over a month.

In early February, a Whitefish woman fatally shot her boyfriend, Ordean L. EngeBretson, at a residence on the 400 block of Colorado Avenue. The woman, Katherine Lanegan, has not been charged with a crime as the initial investigation revealed elements of self-defense. That investigation is ongoing.

Shootings and violent crimes are extremely unusual in Whitefish, Dial said.

“I’ve been chief for 11 years. My first year here there was a double homicide. Since then, we haven’t had any violent crimes to speak of in Whitefish until this February,” he said. “It has been a very bad month and we hope that no other violent crimes occur.”

Editor Sherry Devlin can be reached at 523-5250 or at sdevlin@missoulian.com.

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(28) Comments

  1. Chewy
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    Chewy - March 16, 2013 5:03 pm
    Sad story all around. Live by the gun...die by the gun...
  2. hellgatenights
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    hellgatenights - March 13, 2013 2:52 am
    Rodriguez wasn't taking to the other man's wife about "Guns" at 10:30 at night.......but he for sure is not talking at all now.

    You could most likely eliminate quite a few "passion" murders if hanguns were outlawed, but then, statistics prove thousands of lives would be saved if we capped the speed limit at 55 too.

    It is tragic............not the phantom "Stories" you mention, but the fact that this exact scenario has been played out thousands of times. And yet, here is Mr. Host, at the wrong place at the wrong time. He knew better.
  3. Bittersweet
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    Bittersweet - March 09, 2013 11:02 pm
    You are warped dsrobins. Very sad.
  4. gomer13
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    gomer13 - March 09, 2013 9:03 pm
    Weird. I somehow never had that happen with the guns in our home growing up. My parents must have missed the memo. The right to selfdefense and the 2nd amendment are inalienable rights. If you disagree with that you are an anti-american piece of scum, and it can be very easily argued that statements like yours are treasonous. Treaon can be punished by death. Don't argue with me I'm right.
  5. gomer13
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    gomer13 - March 09, 2013 9:00 pm
    You put the word right in quotes, as if you don't believe that it is a right?? That right is the only thing that protects your riight to say whatever you want on a public forum, no matter how stupid, ignorant, uneducated, and pathetic it is.
  6. 2ndamd
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    2ndamd - March 09, 2013 8:08 pm
    my condolences to the loved ones rip
  7. 2ndamd
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    2ndamd - March 09, 2013 8:06 pm
    some need to understand... this man who murdered another probably would have done it with a sac full of hammers, a knife, ball bat, scissors, letter opener. catching my drift. he was filled with rage all he wanted was a tool to what he wanted to do. if the government takes guns away people will find another weapon to do what they want to get done.... human nature. leave the guns out of it
  8. JacksonB
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    JacksonB - March 09, 2013 6:00 pm
    You are a sad tale dsrobins a very sad tale.
  9. dsrobins
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    dsrobins - March 09, 2013 3:04 pm
    A sad tale, but look on the bright side. There are two fewer gun goons in Montana. Every little bit helps.
  10. Roger
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    Roger - March 09, 2013 1:11 pm
    What "right to murder"? Owning a gun does not confer a right to commit murder. Rodriguez was not murdered by gun rights - he evidently was murdered by a jealous husband, illegally murdered, I might add.

  11. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - March 09, 2013 1:06 pm
    Another slow learner seeking to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In case you and your ilk have forgotten, living in a free society is not free. With freedom, necessarily comes events like this. If you wish to stop these events, simply advocate for totalitarianism which will keep you safe. Or better yet, move to a totalitarian society where the government will protect you. I'll stay here and continue to fight for my rights and freedoms.
  12. Roger
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    Roger - March 09, 2013 1:05 pm
    Not that many, compared to the number of people who own guns. Nice try though.
  13. JacksonB
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    JacksonB - March 09, 2013 12:15 pm
    For an advocate ds, you are not showing your smarts, Never mow another mans yard is a very old term for messing around with anothers wife.
  14. JacksonB
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    JacksonB - March 09, 2013 12:13 pm
    Re-Made, I own several guns and always depend on myself to protect myself, nasty little habit I picked up in the Service and have continued with now that I am a lawyer, I have had so really scary clients.
  15. pl
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    pl - March 09, 2013 11:56 am
    Yet another crackpot who is allowed to own a gun. Well Rodriquez fought for gun owners' "rights" and he was murdered by those "rights"...the right to murder someone by a nut who's "right" to own a gun supersedes the safety of everyone else. Wonder what he would say now.
  16. snickers
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    snickers - March 09, 2013 10:29 am
    the Missoulian has no more details because they are not released. Who know's, maybe never will be. Many are jumping to same conclusions Walter. Possibly that's what husband thought, but we don't know that, do we? W.F. chief of police says no, maybe so, maybe not. For certain it's just another case of an angry person having a gun at hand. Kind of ironic in a sad way. Maybe the "celebrity" know at the last minute how all the animals felt that he'd slaughtered through the years.
  17. JacksonB
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    JacksonB - March 09, 2013 10:23 am
    This has nothing to do with guns, this has to do with devastating irrational behavior, this is never acceptable. If it was a love triangle as some are speculating, this is not the answer! Of course our busy body society will speculated on everything, which most of is probably not the truth. I can tell you, from the experience in our family with the same situation, the majority of the speculation is just that, speculation. Often times the truth will evade us and we will never have the real answer to why this happened.
  18. Re-Made in Montana
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    Re-Made in Montana - March 09, 2013 10:01 am
    You are welcome to rely on others for your protection. Please allow me to rely on myself. Fair?
  19. PowertothePeople
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    PowertothePeople - March 09, 2013 8:40 am
    Although a tragic story, the irony of this story is even more tragic. Rodriguez, being a pro gun advocate, probably shared his views on the recent gun control laws, and then to be killed for the rights he fought for.... wonder how many other stories like this are out there?
  20. walter12
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    walter12 - March 09, 2013 6:21 am
    Again, the Missoulian misses out on details. This was a love triangle and jealousy thing for sure. It has been going on for thousands of years. But today, people are crazier than ever.
  21. OICAB
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    OICAB - March 09, 2013 12:06 am
    "Don't argue with me. I'm right." - Liberal Mantra
  22. ds
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    ds - March 08, 2013 7:14 pm
  23. old AZ hippie
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    old AZ hippie - March 08, 2013 6:49 pm
    Gosh, it's too bad somebody in the house didn't have a gun for protection. Oh, yeah, that's right - " . . . Mr. Bengston came into the home and shot him [Mr. Rodriguez] IMMEDIATELY."

    Guns in the home are there only so small children can find them and kill themselves or their little brothers. Don't argue with me. I'm right.

    (PercyA - sounds like the wife's several injuries were not life-threatening; she has been released from the hospital and reunited with her son.)
  24. Reno
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    Reno - March 08, 2013 5:44 pm
    Tsk tsk, another victim of a predatory female.

    Could their relationship, like thousands every year, have been founded
    upon a misunderstanding?

    More people are answering yes to that question as it becomes increasingly evident that we are wading in the pathos of marital disaster in this country.

    Let's face it, you can't even buy a bag of groceries today without getting a short course
    in divorce from the tabloids at the checkout counter.

    But what primary misconception can be blamed for the growing war zone between the

    It is the quiet, festering, and popular ignorance of the predatory female. Her perfidious
    nature has persistently escaped proper scrutiny and exposure throughout most of
    this century.

    The predatory female, obfuscated by society and custom, is misunderstood
    by females and males alike.

    It is this lack of awareness that eventually leads most couples to the brink of catastrophe.
    Look at a typical day's headlines: MAN SHOOTS WIFE, THEN SELF. LOVER'S

    A working knowledge of the predatory female can greatly aid everyone in avoiding
    these terrible, but common events.

    We live in a matriarchal society. Most of our citizens are females. Can we afford to remain
    blinded to an inherent trait of most of our citizens?

    He had no study of the predatory female. It is long overdue for many guys today. They must learn to recognize and deal with her.

    To avoid the misery and self-destruction inflicted daily upon the victims of the predatory

    I feel sorry for both guys because she obviously drove one insane, her husband, and the other to adultery and death. Now his children and wife are affected by his death.

    The actual victim should have used a knife because a gun only makes a liberal loon say something stupid about firearms.
  25. Nils
    Report Abuse
    Nils - March 08, 2013 3:11 pm
    The coward no doubt felt impotent and small without a gun.
  26. grizcountry
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    grizcountry - March 08, 2013 2:35 pm
    Never mow another mans yard...
  27. Tracker
    Report Abuse
    Tracker - March 08, 2013 1:35 pm
    So many lives shattered. Incomprehensible.
  28. PercyA
    Report Abuse
    PercyA - March 08, 2013 12:38 pm
    Well that's fairly terrifying and tragic! Awful! Poor, poor man. Welcome to Montana, y'all! Condolences to his family and friends. Hope the deranged man's wife is doing okay after receiving a "brutal beating.." Any updates there?
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