(CNN) — Los Angeles area police are searching for one of their own in connection with a shooting death Saturday after finding an odd lead.
In the predawn darkness, a shooter and a victim apparently struggled, and witnesses reported hearing gunshots. A compact car was seen rushing off, and Salome Rodriguez, Jr. lay wounded.
The 23-year-old later died at a Los Angeles hospital, police said.
Investigators looking for clues discovered something about three blocks away from the murder scene in Ponoma, California — a second car left abandoned. It belonged to a rookie police officer with the LAPD.
Officer gone missing
They began looking for Officer Henry Solis to question him in connection with the killing. But so far, he has not turned up.
“Solis’ whereabouts is unknown, and we have reason to believe that he knows the Police are looking to talk with him,” Ponoma police said in a statement.
The LAPD is helping them look for him. Solis, who is still in his probationary phase, was off-duty when the killing happened and has not reported back to them since.
Police have not said how Solis may have been involved in the killing, CNN affiliate KTLA reported.
‘My best friend’
Residents have built a memorial to Rodriguez, a trucker, at the street corner where he collapsed. Sunday afternoon, they held a vigil and played his favorite songs.
They said he put God and family first.
“He was just sweet,” Sandra Soto told KTLA. “He was my best friend.”