CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rodney Shaffer II said he was sitting in the back of his dad's green Ford Bronco on an August night 10 years ago when he was woken abruptly by the blast of a gunshot.
"I looked back to see what we were flying away from," Shaffer -- or "Little Rod," as he's also known -- told the Gazette last week. "I seen the red Camaro sitting at the gas pump with the door open."
"What's going on? What happened?" Shaffer asked his friend, Shawn Lester, and his dad, Rodney "Big Rod" Shaffer, who was driving. "The gun was sitting in the middle between them."
The gun was used to shoot Jeanie Patton on the night of Aug. 14, 2003, at the Speedway gas station in Campbells Creek -- one of three sniper-style killings in Kanawha County over five days.
Lester pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder in Patton's slaying, and is serving 40 years in prison. The elder Shaffer died in 2008.
Rodney Shaffer II pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, but said he's never been sentenced on them. He said he's got 26 months of probation left on a federal gun charge.
The younger Shaffer said that earlier on the night Patton was killed, he was at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital. His father's mistress was in labor, and his father told him to drop off a suitcase.
After he got a flat tire, his father and Lester picked him up.
"We can't take him with us," the younger Shaffer said Lester told his dad.
"'It's my boy, what do you want me to do? Leave him here?' Dad told him."
Ten years later, he wishes he had never taken that ride. He said he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Some have labeled him a snitch for revealing to police what he remembers, which he said isn't very much, about the night Patton was killed.
"I'm still dealing with it every day. I tell people, what would you do when you didn't have nothing to do with it?" Rodney Shaffer said about telling police what he knew.
Patton, 31, of Campbells Creek, was shot while pumping gas. Police believe it was because the man commonly known as her husband, Marty Walker, had a role in stealing an engine block full of rare pink-tinted methamphetamine from Lester's Sissonville garage.
She was shot four days after Gary Carrier Jr., 44, of South Charleston, was shot while using a pay phone outside a Go-Mart store on Bigley Avenue in Charleston. He was also connected to the meth theft.
A little more than an hour after Patton's death, Okey Meadows Jr., 26, of Campbells Creek, was shot in the neck outside a Cedar Grove Go-Mart. Police believe he may have been shot at random to throw investigators off the track.
The three slayings triggered a massive hunt for the shooter and put area residents on edge. It wasn't until 2011 when Lester was named in connection to the slayings.
Little Rod Shaffer had met Lester through mutual friends around Sissonville in the early 1990s -- or maybe before then, he isn't sure -- and introduced Lester to his father.
Two years after the shootings, Lester moved in with the Shaffer family. Before then, though, the younger Shaffer found it odd how close his dad and Lester had become.
"I walked in on him and dad talking a few times and I didn't know what they were talking about. And, I heard some things I didn't want to hear, and heard some things I couldn't believe, and some that I didn't really pay a whole lot of attention to," Shaffer said.
"Shawn was always talking, bragging about stuff and I didn't believe half of what he said."
And, Shaffer said, "Big Rod" wasn't the type to talk about the past.
"One thing about my old man, he didn't volunteer any information about anything he done. Hell, he kept the secret about being with another woman while he was married to mom until the baby was born," Shaffer said.