Slain explorer's family seeks answers

WHITTIER, Calif.

Cesar Rodriguez, 19, and his friend Larry Villegas, 24, were standing in front of a house in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue just after 3 a.m. Sunday when a gray Scion pulled up and the driver opened fire, killing them both.

No arrests have been made.

The teenager volunteered as an explorer at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Norwalk Station. He had recently put in an application hoping to fulfill his dream of becoming a deputy.

"What we want to accomplish today is the help of the community to come forward," Lupe Rodriguez said.

About 50 explorers, deputies and homicide investigators on Saturday helped the Rodriguez family distribute fliers in the area near the crime scene.

Fellow explorers say Rodriguez was a leader and a friend.

"He was a great guy. He was like a brother to me," said Jiovanny Contreras, an explorer. "I've known him for seven years. One of my first friends in high school. He's the one who actually got me in the program."

"He was the heart of the station," said explorer Breana Goint. "He motivated all of us. He was an excellent explorer, somebody we all looked up to."

Hundreds attended the teenager's funeral service Friday. A scholarship fund for explorers was set up in Rodriguez's honor.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's department at (323) 890-5500.

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