High School Soccer Player Shot, Killed in Winnetka | NBC Southern California

High School Soccer Player Shot, Killed in Winnetka

Friend says victim had just completed a game at El Camino Real High School

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police are still searching for the people who shot and killed a 17 year old in his own front yard Wednesday Night. The teen was a popular soccer player at El Camino Real Charter High. (Published Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012)

    The parents of a Winnetka teenager who was shot and killed, returned to their home Thursday night in tears after being interviewed by police.

    They were met by dozens of relatives and friends who placed candles and flowers at a growing memorial on the front lawn where he died.

    High School Soccer Player Shot, Killed

    [LA] High School Soccer Player Shot, Killed
    A soccer player was shot and killed Wednesday night in Winnetka. (Published Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012)

    Authorities are searching for the people who gunned down Francisco “Ponchito” Rodriguez Wednesday night on the front lawn of his home in Winnetka.

    “He was my little cousin. He didn't deserve it. None of us deserve to feel this way,” says Nancy Ortega. 

    Soccer Player Shot, Killed Outside Home

    [LA] Soccer Player Shot, Killed Outside Home
    A soccer player was shot and killed Wednesday night in Winnetka. (Published Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012)

    Rodriguez was a senior at El Camino Real High School and an avid soccer player. His coach, Ian Kogan, said Rodriguez recently spent 10 days in Hawaii with the team. He described him as a good person and a passionate player. “He loved to play the game. He cared a lot about the guys. He cared a lot about the school,” says Kogan.
    On Thursday, teammates could barely put into words their shock and grief. 
    “I really looked up to him. He was like a mentor. It’s so sad,” says Spencer Smith.

     A visibly shaken principal spoke with reporters Thursday morning as students made their way to class, “Just a really good student. Just a high school senior living the life,” says Dave Fehte.

    On Wednesday night, just after 6 p.m., someone took that life from Rodriguez. 
    Relatives describe a bizarre and chaotic scene, a knock at the door and a teenaged girl waiting outside. “I didn’t see her face to face but I know she had red hair,” says Jessica Rodriguez, the victim’s sister.
    Rodriguez told his mother he was stepping outside for a few seconds. Then, Jessica says three shots rang out. “He was facing down, and he wasn’t moving,” says Rodriguez.
    “We don’t feel, by any means, that this was a random shooting,” said Detective David Peteque. “We feel the victim was targeted.”
    Grief counselors were at the school early Thursday.
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