Man wanted for killing teenager in church parking lot

Joe DeLeoon, age 21.
Joe DeLeoon, age 21.(MNPD)
Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 7:04 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2022 at 1:13 PM EST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - The Metro Nashville Police Department issued a homicide warrant for a man they believe shot and killed a 19-year-old in a church parking lot last month.

On Friday, November 25, a call was placed around 4:15 p.m. to MNPD dispatch about a shooting at New Life Seventh Day Adventist Church. Antonio Rudolfo was shot multiple times following an altercation with another person. He later died from his injuries.

MNPD has identified 21-year-old Joe DeLeon as the shooter and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Anyone with information on DeLeon or his whereabouts is asked to call 615-742-7463.

Rudolfo was with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting, according to his family. She was not hurt but witnessed the shooting.

The shooting victim, 19-year-old Antonio Rudolfo, left, with his mother.
The shooting victim, 19-year-old Antonio Rudolfo, left, with his mother.(Courtesy of Rudolfo's family)

Antonio’s mother, Rogelia, spoke exclusively with WSMV’s Brendan Tierney just hours after her son was shot and killed.

“He said, ‘Mom, I am at the store. I will be back home. I love you.’ And I said, ‘I love you too. Be careful,” she said, adding her son was a very funny, good-hearted kid. “Now, I am not going to be able to hear that anymore because somebody took him away from me and his brothers and sisters. And everybody that cared about him. For nothing.”

Rogelia said Antonio was her firstborn child, and it breaks her heart to lose him. She’s looking for justice.

“Like I say, I had five heartbeats, and he was the first, and somebody took it away. Like nothing. And I need to know why,” she said. “It’s awful not being able to see your child, not being able to hug them, hold them or look at them. And then have to watch them be put into a bag into a van. Somebody sat there and shot him for no reason ... It could’ve been different. It didn’t have to end this way.”

Rudolfo’s car was also tolen, according to his family.