A vigil was held Thursday to mark the third anniversary of the death of an aspiring Sheriff’s Department deputy who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting near the border of Santa Fe Springs and South Whittier.
“It’s never going to go away. I was actually with my brother that day. He had just got out of work and he wanted to hang out with us, so we went to one of his friend’s house and as we’re getting out of the car a car drove by and shot at us 15 times,” Hector Rodriguez said.
Caesar Rodriguez, a 19-year-old member of the Sheriff’s Department’s Explorer Program, and a friend were gunned down on Aug. 28, 2011, on Painter Avenue near Meyer Road (map), Rodriguez's family said.
Rodriguez was 13 when he first joined the Explorer Program, which is a Boy Scout style group that exposes young people to the work law enforcement does.
“He was determined to become a Sheriff’s deputy … Nothing could really stop him,” former explorer Jonathan Collado said at the vigil.
The gunmen did not say anything before opening fire, and the shooting appeared to be random, Hector Rodriguez said.
Now, Caesar Rodriguez’s mother says she will host a vigil every year until her son’s killer is found.
“This time it was my son. Next time it can be their son,” Lupe Rodriguez said. “I'm sure from heaven he doesn't fear none, and protects even that person who took his life.”
The Sheriff’s Department said in 2011 that the car was a gray Toyota Scion with three or four people inside.