Dallas man, who wrongly predicted terrorists, is back in business; why the city says shoppers are safe

Dallas Markets owner Andrew Rodriguez built a 2500-square foot bunker in preparation for a self-predicted terrorist attack that did not happen. The unlicensed construction work prompted the city of Dallas to suspend his business license, costing 200

Good news for bargain hunters and arts and crafts lovers. The Dallas Markets are back in business.

The popular shopping district in Paulding County was forced to close suddenly last October over unpermitted construction work combined with some odd behavior from its owner.

The work has since been removed and Dallas Markets will officially reopen this weekend.

The FOX 5 I-Team obtained video and documents from the now-closed investigation that provide a fuller picture of why city officials took action so quickly.

According to a report from the city marshal, Dallas Markets owner Andrew Rodriguez explained he was building a bunker on the property to defend against an invasion of Chinese terrorists. And he predicted an attack on air and water with fentanyl would happen any moment.

"I think the appropriate adjective would be stunned silence," said Dallas City Attorney Darrin Keaton, remembering that day Rodriguez first met with city officials. At the same time, a mass shooting was unfolding in Maine. The city marshal even listened to a news conference about that shooting while he was driving around the bunker property.

"You’re not given the luxury of just sloughing it off, or he’s not serious," Keaton said, explaining why the city moved that day to yank the business license for Dallas Markets, even though it hurt many of the 200 vendors at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

The Dallas city inspector photographs the interior of the gun turret where Rodriguez said "defensive shooters" could be positioned. (Dallas bodycam)

City inspectors also noted some of the uninspected bunker construction endangered the public, including questionable electrical work that crossed a parking lot.

Newly-released body cam video shows Rodriguez proudly giving the city marshal a tour of the unfinished bunker attached to the Dallas Markets main building. He showed off a command center, panic rooms, an armory, an elevated turret for multiple "defensive shooters," and 2500 square feet of contained space behind Level 7 steel doors.

"This is the secondary panic room," Rodriguez explained during the tour. "So if you end up, God forbid, you think your better defense is over here, you go straight back to this one."

He also told the marshal he was expecting a prison break.

"It’s going to hit the fan," he insisted.

According to the marshal’s report, "Mr. Rodriguez acknowledged that he was doing construction under stop work order and that he did not have time to go through the permitting process because he believed that on Halloween, October 31st going into November 1st that China would be attacking the United States with terrorist (sic) who have entered through the United States Southern Border as well as with blimps. Mr. Rodriguez stated they would poison the air and water with fentanyl."

No attack ever materialized.

The Dallas Markets had become one of the biggest shopping draws in Paulding County before it closed unexpectedly in October. It's back in business now that the owner has agreed to remove a bunker built on the rear portion of the property.

When the FOX 5 I-Team started investigating in November, we found social media sites for Rodriguez filled with impending doom.

"I’m going to read you this letter that was given to me by a vision from God," he announced on Instagram. "God called us to be warriors. And we are going to take this country back in His name!"

But when he talked to us in November, Rodriguez said the bunker was to protect the community from dangerous weather.

"I don’t think these are the End Times," he said. "Depends on what you think the End Times as being. I don’t understand why this has turned into something other than me trying to take care of my family and the community."

Neither he nor his attorney responded to questions now that the Dallas Markets are reopening. Rodriguez and the city signed a consent order giving him additional time to move his collection of shipping containers that formed the bunker’s perimeter.

Has he taken back that prediction of impending doom? And should it make any difference to shoppers if he still feels that way?

"That’s a good point and really the city didn’t focus on that in the litigation," said Keaton. "We’re not really concerned if Mr. Rodriguez thinks the world may end soon. It’s not about how a person thinks. It’s about how they behave pursuant to the law. And if he’s following the law, he can believe what he wants to believe.

"It’s the opinion of the city that it’s safe to be on the Dallas Markets site."