A March for Justice will be held on Wednesday in the Whittier area to mark another year with no arrests since the 2011 killing of two men, one of them an aspiring deputy who volunteered as an Explorer at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Norwalk Station.
Cesar Rodriguez, 19, was fatally shot as he stood with a friend, 24-year-old Larry Villegas, in front of a house in the 11800 block of Painter Avenue in an unincorporated area near Whittier about 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 28, 2011.
A gray Scion sedan appeared in front of the men, and the driver pulled out a handgun and fired several shots, according to sheriff’s investigators.
The car, with three or four suspects, drove away northbound on Painter Avenue.
Investigators believe the victims, neither of whom were affiliated with gangs, might have been mistaken for local gang members who had been at the scene earlier in the night.
Rodriguez had volunteered as an Explorer for four years and become the leader of his local post’s honor guard, working at DUI checkpoints and National Night Out events. He had applied to be a full-fledged deputy.
Villegas, a graduate of California High School and the Universal Technical Institute, had a job at Caterpillar. The company had just paid for him to go back to school and get his associate’s degree. He was raising a 10-month-old son and his girlfriend was pregnant with their second child, a daughter.
Members of the slain men’s families were expected to join sheriff’s deputies and others at Wednesday’s march, which begins at 6 p.m., and has been a somber tradition each year following the killings.
A $25,000 reward has been offered by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Anyone with information that could help investigators bring justice to the victims’ families was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.
Anonymous tips can be submitted through Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS or lacrimestoppers.org.
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