LA County Sheriff’s Explorer, 19, Gunned Down In A Hail Of Bullets In Whittier Double Homicide

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.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Marco says:

    Sad. Its happening all over now.

    1. Miriam Sanchez says:

      What a shame an example of what a youth now a days should be like, following the dream! May he rest in peace. He must of been at the wrong place at the wrong time. God has taken another angel from the world we live in, my heart goes out to the family and friends and officers that lost this role model youth! My prayers are with yous during this tragic and senseless death!

      1. Xen says:

        Such a cowardly act. I hope police catch this coward soon. We need to rid our society of cowards like this. Execution is the solution.

    2. J2 says:

      I live in the city of South Whittier, about two blocks away, and I very much heard the gun shots while I was online (internet). I hear a “boom boom….BOOM BOOM BOOM”, five shots. Its stupid because in my area the police let people get away with so much, whether it may be stealing baskets from supermarkets, disturbing the peace, losing children, housing illegal immigrants from Mexico, growing Marijuana in their backyards and smoking it freely while hanging out in their driveway with their homeboys, and people walking around like hudlems trying to act all macho and wanting to pick a fight with anyone. They shot that 19 year young man because he likely looked like a gang member, as I am sure his friend did. The people whom shot him are likely local, whom probably live within the same niche of Unincorporated Whittier. In reality, this area is not even Whittier, its Los Angeles County, and being part of the county and not a city means less patrols, less protection, less rules, laws, etc. Crimes like this will continue to happen until the county makes us a city. Only then will increase patrols decrease on the amount of people whom have the nerve to commit such crimes in this neighborhood. I have lived here 24 years, it has improved a little in appearance, but the people are getting worse as illegal immigrants have been having their anchor children grow up, and show no respect for the US, the state of California, the county, their neighborhood….the law. Its time to become more forceful on these people.

      I am sorry for the loss of the parents and family of the two individuals.

      1. Stubby says:

        NIce post.

      2. christian says:

        Well said

      3. wgaf says:

        J2,
        A little conflicted aren’t you. First, you state, “Its stupid because in my area the police let people get away with so much…,” then you want to put more overpaid incompetent as$wipe cops on the street. What you and a lot of others need to do is grow a pair. With shaved heads and tats the moron cops don’t look any different than any other thug.

  2. huck says:

    It’s not safe to stand outside at 3am anymore. Unless you’re in the country, but nowhere near this area. What a hero. I hope he inspires others.

  3. Meg says:

    Ummmm, what are you talking about? The article clearly states that he was a Sheriff’s Department Explorer for 4 years and that he never got in trouble. He surely would not be allowed to be an explorer if he were gang banging.

    1. Tony Yu says:

      That idiot above is calling law enforcement a gang since they run around in a group (entity) carrying guns.

      Unfortunately in the United States, it is a given right for anyone to say anything especially during this sad tragedy. Other incidents I can cite are Members of Westboro Baptist Church protesting during funeral proceedings of those who fought in the military.

      Sworn police officers, civilian personnel of a LE department, district attorneys and good samaritans are always doing the Lord’s work so that common folk can live in a safe society.

      This is really a sad event and it just amazes me how such savages can say things that is not even relevant.

  4. Gary says:

    What do you mean ? There was no motive ?
    He was connected with the Sheriffs dept !
    Law enforcement is getting shot at everyday…Just because !

    1. PatricParamedic says:

      Gary is absolutely right.

      The “motive” couldn’t be more obvious. His Explorer status was seen as an affront to the urban gorillas.

      And they responded the way jungle animals respond when threatened.

      This ain’t exactly rocket science going on here.

  5. downey90242 says:

    you freaken idiot! i knew this kid personally. from reading hearing your heartless comment, i can see that you are in the worst gang ever known to mankind. the gang called heartless morons, who always stereotype others without knowing a single thing about them. i suggest you look this kid up through the norwalk explorer program before opening your mouth! have some compassion, for him, his family, and those who knew him. GOD BLESS YOU CESAR RODRIGUEZ!

  6. Jeezus says:

    All they know is that a young man who dreamed of being one of them, had those dreams dashed by a gun.

    that’s a lame statement. his dreams were dashed by the dreams of a cowardly criminal human being.

  7. tivo says:

    The pathetic losers that shot this young man of courage wer jealous because they will always be miserable lil hell bound jerks with no rest insight bunch of worthless garbage brought up by worthless parents!

  8. rest in peace cesar! says:

    thank you for removing that heartless comment!

  9. Jeezus says:

    to you lame commenters here, if you dont believe in law enforcement and the upholding of the law, then you are an unlawful person plain and simple.

    he sounded like someone who was actually working hard and being a man in life, creating change for the good of the community.

  10. kojak says:

    the statement say “double homicide” well this goes to show you that the other guy was probably a gangmember and the writer say nothing about the other person as this would have tolded the reason for the shooting. and this creep would have committted crimes in that sheriff uniform once he got the job, yep,

  11. FLAVIO RODRIGUEZ says:

    PART ABOUT IT IS THAT ALL OF THESE IDIOTS MAKING STUPID COMMENTS DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT CESAR WAS A REAL GOOD KID MY DAUGHTER GREW UP AND IS ALSO AN EXPLORER. HE DID NOT LOOK LIKE A GANG MEMBER HE WAS JUST A HAPPY KID WHICH WILL BE MISSED. MY DAUGHTER WAS WITH HIM ON FRIDAY NIGHT AND SHE IS STILL CRYING BECAUSE HE WAS ONE OF HER BEST FRIENDS. SO FOR ALL YOU IDIOTS PLEASE KEEP THOSE STUPID COMMENTS AGAIN TO YOUR SELVES BECAUSE IF THIS WOULD TO HAPPEN TO YOU OR ONE OF YOUR LOVE ONES YOU WOULDN’T BE SAYING ALL THE CACA YOU ARE PUTTING ON.

  12. James says:

    Our prayers are with the young men and their families. Please don’t hang around that late in the evening not matter where you live, there are a lot of crazies out there now days. Perhaps Rodriguez argued with a gang member earlier and the loser returned for vengence. I’m certain Rodriguez had good intentions whatever they might have been. Sorry for the lose.

  13. PatricParamedic says:

    As long as we tolerate urban gorillas among our families, these types of atrocities will continue to happen.

    It is we, the citizens, that will change this ugliness . . . or we won’t.

    And then we can change our name to North Mexico.

  14. "REPUBLICAN EMPIRE FALLS" says:

    THE WHITE MAN’S REPUBLICAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM IS: REASONABLE FOR ALL NEGITIVE EVENTS THAT HAPPEN IN THIS COUNTRY!!!! BAD ECONOMY,NO JOBS,RACiAL TENSIONS,HOMELESSNESS,.THAT’S WHY IT’S OPEN SEASON ON ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT!!!! BECAUSE THE COPS ARE BACKING-UP THE GOVERNMENTS UGLY WAYS, THAT HARM PEOPLE OF POVERTY SOCIETYS!

    1. Mike says:

      It should be open season on YOU>>>>>>you P.O.S.

      1. "REPUBLICAN EMPIRE FALLS" says:

        your already dead bee-itch!!!!

  15. christian says:

    Sounds like a good kid. It makes one wonder if it was mistaken identity or if his friend was the intended target. I think the gang members of today are ALL COWARDS. If they had a beef with either of these two gentlemen, why couldn’t they get out of the car and fight like a real man. GANG MEMBERS TODAY CAN”T EVEN FIGHT OUT OF A WET PAPER BAG. My condolences to the family and the sherriff’s dept for their loss. Sounds like he would have made an outstanding deputy.

  16. Leticia Flores says:

    Downey 90242
    My Condolences go out to the Rodriguez Family. At times like these instead of making comments about this tragedy we should all fall to our knees and pray for the family and for the world because we are never safe of something like this to happen to anyone of us.. Rodriguez Family and Friends May The Lord give you comfort and Strength. Cesar Rodriguez May You Rest In Peace. God Bless

  17. Andrea says:

    maybe god give strength to family to deal with this lost..God Bless the family…

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