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LAPD working to identify suspect in soccer player's killing

Los Angeles Police Department officials said Saturday that they are working around the clock to identify a suspect in the slaying of a 17-year-old high school soccer player outside his San Fernando Valley home.

Francisco Rodriguez Jr., a popular senior at El Camino Real High School, was shot and killed outside his Winnetka home Wednesday afternoon.

Lt. Dave Storaker said a team of investigators, including homicide detectives and officers from other units at the Topanga station, as well as officers from the Valley Bureau are working on the case. They have served search warrants, both on locations and for phone records, he said, but would not discuss where the warrants were served.

Storaker said no suspects have been detained or arrested.

Among other things, investigators are trying to determine a motive and to identify the person who knocked on the door at Rodriguez' home just before he was killed.

As family members told the story, a girl with red hair knocked on the front door just after 6 p.m. Wednesday. Rodriguez, who had recently gotten home after a soccer game, answered it and told his mother he would be outside. Seconds later, shots rang out and he was lying face-down on the lawn. He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Police have said that Rodriguez was not gang-affiliated and that the killing did not appear to be random.

"There is a reason why this person knocked on that door," Storaker said. "Whether it had something to do with the family or whether it had to do with him is not something we've been able to find out."

Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call the Topanga station at (818) 756-4811. Tipsters who would like to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

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-- Abby Sewell

 
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