HELENA, Mont. — A northwestern Montana man shot and killed the host of the Sportsman Channel show “A Rifleman’s Journal” in an apparent jealous rage while the TV personality was visiting the shooter’s wife, police said Friday.
Wayne Bengston, 41 (pictured left), then beat his wife, took his 2-year-old son to a relative’s house and drove to his home about 25 miles away in West Glacier, where he killed himself, Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial said.
“It’s pretty much an open-and-closed case. Homicide and suicide,” Dial said.
Police identified the shooting victim as Gregory G. Rodriguez, 43, (pictured right) of Sugar Land, Texas. Bengston’s wife told police that Rodriguez was in town on business and visiting her at her mother’s house in Whitefish when her husband showed up Thursday at about 10:30 p.m.
Rodriguez and the woman, who works for a firearms manufacturer in the Flathead Valley, met at a trade show and struck up a casual relationship that police do not believe was romantic, Dial said.
She and Rodriguez were sitting at the kitchen table, talking over a glass of wine, when Bengston entered the house and shot Rodriguez, Dial said.
He then beat his wife on the face and head, most likely with the pistol, he said. She was treated at a hospital and released.
“I think it was a jealous husband, but this is all conjecture,” Dial said.
After the shooting was reported, Flathead County sheriff’s deputies found Bengston’s truck parked in his driveway. Efforts by a police SWAT team to contact Bengston inside the house were unsuccessful, and officers found his body with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said.
Besides appearing on TV, Rodriguez was the founder and CEO of Global Adventure Outfitters. According to the company’s website, he was an editor at Shooting Times Magazine and a contributing editor at Petersen’s Hunting, Guns & Ammo and Dangerous Game.
He was a mortgage banker before founding Global Adventure Outfitters and has hunted in 21 countries, the website says.
“A Rifleman’s Journal” tracks Rodriguez’s hunting travels to exotic locations, according to a Sportsman Channel description.
He has a wife and two children, it says.
A woman who answered the phone at Global Adventure Outfitters confirmed that Rodriguez had been in Montana but said the organization would not be making a statement at the time.
Bengston worked for the U.S. Forest Service, Dial said.