WHITTIER (CBS) — Cesar Rodriguez, 19, a volunteer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Explorer program was gunned down, along with a friend, Sunday morning in Whittier in a drive-by shooting.
Sgt. Mike Mendoza said Rodriguez was “very well liked” and had been a volunteer for four years.
The motive of the double homicide remains unclear.
Detectives are at a loss to explain why Rodriguez might have been a target. The same goes for his family.
KCAL9′s Rita Garcia sat with his loved ones Sunday and they tried to make sense of a tragedy that makes absolutely no sense…to anyone. She talked to his grieving mother, father, brothers.
Rodriguez never got in any trouble. Worked his way up the ranks of the Explorer program…excelled to become an elite member of the group’s color guard.
At 19, he was nearing the mandatory age of 20 to apply to become a deputy. And those that knew Rodriguez said he would have been down there to complete his application process on the very day he turned…
To anyone who would listen, his dream was to become a deputy.
He simply might have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Rodriguez and a friend were standing in front of a residence in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue, about 3 a.m., when a gray Scion rolled up. Witnesses said the driver pulled out a handgun and fired several shots, killing Rodriquez and his friend.
Neither man lived in the home and deputies can’t say why they were there or even if the person who lived in the home was the actual target.
All they know is that a young man who dreamed of being one of them, had those dreams dashed by a gun.
Late Sunday, the Coroner’s Office identified the second shooting victim as Larry Villegas, 24, of Whittier.