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On April 3, 1999, 59-year-old Rodrigo Duran of Des Moines, Iowa, was shot in the chest in the parking lot of El Palacio, a dance hall located at 1820 E. Army Post Road on Des Moines’ south side.
He died at 2:00 a.m. in a local hospital.
Roberto Paramo, 19, also of Des Moines, was shot in the arm and chest and admitted in serious condition to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, but survived.
According to Des Moines Police Sgt. Bruce Elrod, the men were shot following a fight between two women, which eventually spread to other dance hall patrons.
“It was described by one person as looking very much like an old western movie with the bottles and chairs flying around,” Elrod said in an Estherville Daily News story published April 5, 1999.
Elrod said it appeared Duran may have been an innocent bystander, and that the investigation was being hampered a lack of cooperation from the witnesses.
“Detectives have started a homicide investigation but very little is known at this point,” Elrod told the Daily News.
Although police found a pistol, they were uncertain as to whether it was the weapon used to shoot the men and kill Duran. Duran’s death was the second death at the dance hall in a three-year period. Jose Raul Camacho had been killed there three years earlier on September 14, 1996.
“In that one the investigators got absolutely no cooperation from anyone and as a result the case is still open; it has not been solved,” said Elrod.
Rodrigo Duran was born March 13, 1940 in California. He was buried at the Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines.
If you have any information regarding Rodrigo Duran’s unsolved murder, please contact the Des Moines Police Department at (515) 283-4864.