‘He was friendly to everybody.’ Man dies in hospital days after shooting

A 46-year-old man died in the hospital two days after a shooting left him lying in the street early Monday morning, police said this week.

The shooting happened around 1:30 a.m. Monday on Long Beach Boulevard near 14th Street, according to police. That’s where officers found a man in the street who’d been shot in the upper body, police said.

The victim was originally in stable condition when he was taken to a local hospital, but on Sept. 19, hospital staff notified police that he’d died from his wounds, police said in a news release.

Police identified the victim as Fernando Rodriguez of Long Beach. According to mechanics at nearby auto shops, Rodriguez lived in the area and hung around often.

Juan-Carlos Garcia, who works in one of the auto shops, said he has known Rodriguez for 20 years and reconnected with him during the last few years.

Rodriguez helped him with work around his shop and collected recyclables in the area. He starting helping Garcia out after Garcia hurt his leg in a motorcycle accident.

“He was friendly to everybody,” Garcia said.

Another mechanic in the auto-shop complex, Jorge Torres, echoed the sentiment.

The mechanics nicknamed him “Raton,” or “mouse” in Spanish, because Rodriguez was nice and usually quiet, Torres said.

“We’re really hoping they catch whoever did this,” Torres said.

Garcia saw Rodriguez on Sunday night, he said. Rodriguez was waiting for a friend to bring back his truck that he loaned him a few days before and the person was late getting back.

“I heard him say, ‘Leave me alone,’ before it happened,” Garcia said. He did not see the shooting.

Rodriguez leaves behind a wife and four kids, according to Garcia. He was a gardener and worked side jobs for extra cash.

Police are still looking for the shooter. Preliminary information indicated he or she fled in an unknown direction, police said.

Any motive remains unknown.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to call Homicide Detectives Sean Irving and Ben Vargas at 562-570-7244. Anonymous tips may be submitted through “LA Crime Stoppers” by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), downloading the “P3 Tips” app to your smart phone (available at the Apple App store and Google Play), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.
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