On Tuesday, two Los Angeles-area suspects were arrested in connection with the shooting death of a popular high school soccer goalie, with Los Angeles Police Department officials indicating that a romantic rivalry may have been behind the teenager's slaying at his own home.
As reported by the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and a variety of other sources, 19-year-old Elizabeth Ibarra and 24-year-old Jason Shumann were arrested in connection with the LAPD's investigation of the murder, with both being held on $1 million bail. Police officials said that both had extensive criminal records, but also noted that a murder weapon had still not been recovered.
While police are still seeking additional information to confirm a motive, they apparently believe that the killing of Winnetka (Calif.) El Camino Real High goalie Francisco Rodriguez was romantically motivated, with Ibarra and Shumann killing the teen over his involvement with a girl who was also involved with jealous male friend.
"We don't believe it is gang-related.... We believe it is personally motivated," Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas told a Tuesday evening press conference.
Still, police are desperate for more clues to tie together loose ends in a case which still apparently includes a number of holes. While Villegas said that the department has enough information to charge both Ibarra and Shumann, both of whom were found after police tracked down a green Ford Explorer that was seen fleeing the scene of the shooting, the full connection between Rodriguez and the suspects has yet to be established. Police have also yet to determine who fired the shots that felled the goalie and led to his death at an area hospital hours later.
At the moment, police believe Ibarra, who naturally has black hair, dyed her hair red on the evening of the shooting to lure Rodriguez outside and throw off potential witnesses.
The goalie's sister, Jessica Rodriguez, reported seeing a red-haired girl outside the door of the family home just moments before her brother was shot, and noted that the girl appeared to be around the same age as her brother; Ibarra is 19-years-old while Rodriguez was 17 when he was killed.
While the investigation into his death will continue in the hopes of presenting an air tight case against the suspects, El Camino Reals boys soccer program moves on, still without one of its brightest stars.
"Francisco was always willing to play, whenever," El Camino Real boys soccer coach David Hussey told ESPNLA.com just before his team took the field for the first time since Rodriguez's slaying. "The first game is going to be the hardest."