Teen fatally shot in Long Beach home

LONG BEACH, Calif. A family memorial to 14-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez rests just next to the bullet-ridden doorway where the boy was killed by gunfire in his own home in the 1600 block of East 53rd Street.

Rodriguez's mother, Angelica Rojas, was there when it happened. Rojas says someone knocked on the door. Eduardo opened it and seconds later, he was on the floor.

"It sounded like between eight and 10 (shots)," said neighbor Tyrone Ibarra, adding that when he walked up to the house, there were several bullet casings on the ground.

"I heard like a spray of bullets. It wasn't like a 'pop pop pop' from the sound of a revolver. It sounded more like a faster shot, like from an Uzi," said Ibarra.

Paramedics took the 9th-grade /*Jordan High School Freshman Academy*/ student to a local hospital, where he died.

According to /*Long Beach Police*/, the shooting appears gang-related, but they say Eduardo had no ties to gang life.

"That location was probably targeted. We do know that there was a relative who had lived at the location in the past, or recently, and he does have gang ties," said Long Beach Police Sgt. Dina Zapalski.

Family members said Rodriguez was a good kid, and police do not think he was the intended target.

"He's smart, he's intelligent, got good grades in school," said cousin Roberto Rodriguez.

Devastated family members say the straight-A student, who loved the "Harry Potter" series, dreamed of attending UC Berkeley.

"If gang members are so tough, why can't they confront themselves to themselves instead of putting the innocent in between?" said Yesenia Rodriguez, Eduardo's sister. "Have the courage they supposedly have and attack themselves. Confront with each other. Be a man about it. Be a real man and stop being cowards."

Police said the neighborhood is normally pretty quiet, and residents agreed that they don't usually see trouble in the area, but the violence of the recent shooting has everyone re-evaluating their safety.

Some residents reported seeing a dark-colored sedan racing away from the crime scene, but police said they don't have a good description of the vehicle or of the suspect.

If you have information related to this crime, you're asked to contact police at the Long Beach Police Dept. at (562) 570-7244, or Crime Stoppers (800) CRIMESTOPPERS.

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