Community rallies after Sarasota restaurant manager's death - WFLA News Channel 8

Community rallies after Sarasota restaurant manager's death

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Juan De Dios Rodriguez after his arrest. He's charged with manslaughter in Tian's death. Juan De Dios Rodriguez after his arrest. He's charged with manslaughter in Tian's death.
Andrew Tian Andrew Tian
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

It's been more than a month since a Sarasota restaurant manager died after he was beaten in front of his own business.

Along with the grief comes a long list of bills for Andrew Tian's family, but the community is helping out.   

Tian gave up a high-level job in China to move to Florida, work at the New Dynasty Chinese restaurant, and give his son a better life.

"When Andrew left China, he knew he was leaving behind all his degrees, all his awards, all his status," said Marylou Anderson, Tian's girlfriend.  "And he knew when he came to the United States he would lose that, and he made a conscious decision."

Tian's job as a restaurant manager opened up a world of opportunities for his family.  One night in July, it put him in serious danger.

Sarasota County deputies say Juan De Dios Rodriguez, 20, skipped out on a bill.  When Tian chased after him, deputies say Rodriguez punched him and ran away.

Tian later died.  Rodriguez is charged with manslaughter.

Anderson said, "There were 550 people at [Tian's] service. 550 people, in a tiny little church," said Anderson.  "If you knew Andrew and knew how wonderful he was, no it's not a surprise. It's humbling."

Now, Anderson is trying to step up for Tian's son, Alex.

He's a grad student at UF and tuition bills are adding up.  Area restaurants have already donated thousands of dollars to help pay for tuition, and other family expenses.

Random strangers are pitching in as well.

"I've got 50 cents from a five year old girl, it was her allowance," said Anderson. "50 cents!"

So many people have expressed interest in helping out that Anderson has now set up a trust fund.  In all, around $10,000 have already been collected.

If you'd like to help, contributions can be made to:

The Andrew Tian Memorial Trust

P.O. Box 21465

Sarasota, FL 34231

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