Marc Wabafiyebazu charged with first-degree murder in double killing in Miami
Her phone rang.
“Are your kids OK?” a senior official at Canada’s Embassy in Washington was asking.
“And then,” Roxanne Dube says in her French-accented lilt, “I knew something was not correct.”
As she would later discover, local authorities had contacted the U.S. State Department, which had in turn contacted the Canadian Embassy. Her unease turned to alarm as, at the urging of her embassy contact, she directed her driver to a hospital, where she was ushered into a VIP room. Someone handed her a piece of paper with a phone number to call for information. She did.
“I’m afraid I have bad news, I think we should meet,” Det. Rolando Garcia was saying. “And he said: ‘Jean is dead.’ I knew it was true because of the way he pronounced Jean’s name.”
Dube dropped the phone. Her world had imploded that sunny day on March 31, 2015. Dube could barely stagger outside.
Now 53, Dube had arrived from Ottawa with her two teen sons exactly two months earlier to take up her post as Canada’s consul general in Miami. It had been a whirlwind of wrapping up her old job — she had been director general for North America, helping oversee Canada’s consular network in the U.S. and Mexico — finding housing, moving, unpacking, getting the boys settled in school.
“I needed a wife, basically,” she says. “That’s what I needed. It was very demanding.”
Dube had thought little of it when her 18-year-old son, Jean Wabafiyebazu, had asked for money to buy a textbook and take his younger brother, Marc Wabafiyebazu, 15, to a restaurant and movie. The older teen had been doing well and she thought he could do with a reward. She gave him $80 and allowed them to use her black BMW, its diplomatic licence plate sporting the word “Consul,” because Jean’s car, which she now drives, was in the shop that day. Instead, that March 30 afternoon, the brothers headed to a dingy apartment, Jean’s math homework in a black Jansport backpack on the back seat. He was carrying an American-made .40 calibre Smith and Wesson handgun. His plan, police would allege, was to rob a drug dealer of about 800 grams of marijuana.
Jean left Marc sitting in the passenger seat, nearby trees waving in the breeze, as he went into the apartment clutching a green duffel bag emblazoned with a Moosehead beer logo and the words Jean/Marc written in fading ink. Inside, Jean and Anthony Rodriguez, then 19, had a back and forth, according to court evidence, along the lines of, “Show me the money,” “Show me the drugs.” And then, it went horribly wrong. Within minutes, Jean and another teen, Joshua Wright, 17, had died in an exchange of gunfire. Jean had been shot three times, including in the head. Rodriguez, a bullet wound to his arm, would tell police that he picked up a handgun as he bolted into the sunshine, stopping only to rush back inside to retrieve his drugs. His green iPhone was left inside in a pool of blood.
Outside, an agitated and distraught Marc Wabafiyebazu, who had tried in vain to get some answers from the fleeing dealer, could only watch as Rodriguez drove off to abandon his silver Chevy Malibu at a gas station — the same place he had been arrested a month earlier with a loaded gun for drug trafficking. Police had released him without charge two weeks before Jean’s death. Minutes after the dealer’s hasty exit, police ordered Marc to his knees and arrested him on the sidewalk as they swarmed the bloody, casing-riddled crime scene.
A French-Canadian raised in Quebec, Dube had put herself through university before working for a decade on Parliament Hill for a prominent MP who became foreign affairs minister. Her boys’ dad, Germano Wabafiyebazu, was a Congolese refugee who came to Canada in 1992. They met at the University of Ottawa in ’93. She was in her early 30s when Jean was born. Marc, the “son every mother would want to have,” followed a couple of years later.