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Producers pay tribute to TV gun-show host shot dead in Montana

by

By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) - Producers of a popular cable program about hunting and guns said on Saturday they were saddened by the "sudden untimely death" of the show's host, Gregory Rodriguez, who police said was shot to death in Montana by a man who later apparently killed himself.

Authorities in the resort town of Whitefish in northwestern Montana said Rodriguez, 43, host of "A Rifleman's Journal" on the Sportsman Channel and contributing editor at Guns & Ammo magazine, was killed by the husband of a woman with whom Rodriguez was meeting on Thursday night.

The unidentified woman told police that her husband, Wayne Bengston, entered the house where she and Rodriguez were visiting and shot and killed him before brutally beating her, Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial said in a statement.

Bengston, 41, fled to a relative's house with the couple's 2-year-old son, who was later found unharmed. Authorities tracked Bengston to the couple's home in nearby West Glacier, where he was found dead early on Friday of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Dial said.

At a news conference on Friday, Dial said he did not believe Rodriguez was involved with Bengston's wife but that Bengston may have acted in a jealous rage.

The producers of Rodriguez's show said they were saddened by his "sudden untimely death."

"He truly epitomized Sportsman Channel's position of being a leader in the outdoors," Sportsman Channel spokeswoman Michelle Scheuermann said in a statement.

Rodriguez of Sugar Land, Texas, was an authority on firearms and hunting and owned an outfitting business that booked hunting trips to Africa.

He was a former vice president of the Houston Safari Club, a nonprofit group that advocates for wildlife conservation and sporting rights.

"A Rifleman's Journal" chronicled Rodriguez's global pursuit of big-game animals in Africa, Asia and Europe, according to the Sportsman Channel.

Rodriguez and his wife had two children, said the website of his Global Adventure Outfitters business.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Peter Cooney)

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