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Young woman sought as person of interest in Winnetka shooting

January 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The hunt continues for the killer of a 17-year-old Winnetka student fatally shot on his front lawn.

Francisco "Pancho" Rodriguez, a standout soccer player, was fatally shot on his front lawn Wednesday night after he was lured out of his home by a mysterious girl with red hair.

Rodriguez was the goaltender for the El Camino Real High School's soccer team. The Conquistadors tied rival Taft High School on Wednesday, a game in which he played.

After the game, Rodriguez went home. His sister said a girl with dyed red hair knocked on the door and asked for her brother. Rodriguez told his mother that he'd be outside, and according to family members, his sister said he had a scared look on his face.

Minutes later, shots were fired. The soccer player was hit and had collapsed on his front yard. He later died at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

Los Angeles Police executed search warrants in the case Friday, but did not release details of the warrants. They were also investigating leads from Rodriguez's cellphone.

"We really want to find those people. I know it won't bring him back but we just need them to turn themselves in," said Rodriguez's cousin, Brenda Ortega.

Friday, Los Angeles Police applied new pressure in a case they say was not gang-related. Detectives are asking for the public's help to find who they call a person of interest: a young woman who knocked on Rodriguez's door at the dinner hour Wednesday.

Moments after Rodriguez stepped out to speak to her, he was shot three times.

Rodriguez's sister describes a young Latina with hair tinted a burgundy red.

"By this time I'm sure that she knows and she is probably going to change her hair color but she had red hair," said Jessica Rodriguez.

According to the LAPD, the person of interest in a Hispanic female between 17 and 20 years old standing 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighing about 120 pounds. Her hair color was red or auburn on the day of the shooting and she was wearing a black sweater.

As Rodriguez lay dying, the family saw a dark-colored Ford Explorer or Expedition leave the scene.

As a memorial grows there were also tributes at El Camino Real High School. Students wore white in Rodriguez's honor Friday.

And it is the second violent death of an El Camimo soccer player in the last year. Rodriguez's best friend, German Alex Romero, was struck by a hit-and-run driver in April. Rodriguez's family says he wanted to be buried right next to him at Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth.

The family plans to hold services for Rodriguez next week.

If you have information related to the case, contact the Los Angeles Police Dept. at (877) LAPD-247.

A fundraiser is being planned to help the Rodriguez family. Friends are planning a candlelight vigil Jan. 22 at an ice-skating rink, with information posted on a tribute Facebook event page. Students are also taking up a collection in classes next week.