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Police Looking For Red-Haired Girl As Person Of Interest In Murder Of HS Soccer Player

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WOODLAND HILLS (CBS) — A red-haired female — who may have lured an El Camino Real High School soccer player to his death — was being called a person of interest Saturday.

Los Angeles Police Department officials announced a team of investigators had been assembled to work around the clock to find a suspect in the slaying.

Homicide detectives and officers from other Topanga station units were part of the specialized team, along with officers from the Valley division.

“This was not a random shooting,” Los Angeles police Detective David Peteque said. “This was definitely targeted toward a specific individual.”

The woman or girl knocked on the family’s door in the 6900 block of Cozycroft Avenue, apparently asked for 17-year-old Francisco Javier Rodriguez Jr. by name and lured him outside. Accomplices then shot him moments later — just after 6 p.m. Wednesday.

El Camino Real had played Taft High to a scoreless tie earlier that day.

Students flooded the hospital where Francisco, who played goaltender, was declared dead.

Police — who announced no arrests as of Saturday night — described the woman as a Latina in her late teens or early 20s, about 5 feet-1 inch and 120 pounds. Her hair may have been dyed red or auburn, and she was wearing a dark sweater, police said.

Neighbor Jose Meza told reporters that Francisco’s mother answered the door and “she said it was a girl at the door. And he came out, he wasn’t even wearing shoes, he was wearing socks. He must’ve went up to the car, they shot him, and he turned around and took steps toward his house, and he landed right on this front yard.”

Meza talked to Francisco after he was shot.

“I thought he heard me,” Meza said. “I told him just hold on: They will be here. He couldn’t say nothing.”

His father, just returned from a trip to his native Mexico, was working to arrange his son’s burial. The son was known as “Panchito,” a nickname for “Little Francisco.”

Teammate Sergio Hernandez called Javier “a great kid, funny, always cracking jokes.”

“Everyone here loves him dearly, he was just like family,” Meza said.

After Friday’s match, which El Camino won, coach David Hassey said Francisco would have been “so damn proud of us.” Francisco’s jersey, No. 26, was displayed along the sidelines.

Before the game, a 26-second moment of silence was held to give people a chance to meditate on the teenager’s violent death.

Anyone with more information as to the name or whereabouts of the killer was asked to call detectives at (818) 756-3363, or (877) LAPD-24-7.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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