No arrests or suspects in shooting death of ex-football player

There are no suspects and no arrests have been made in the shooting death of an 18-year-old Santa Ana man who was found dead early Friday on a residential street, police said.

Police at first couldn’t identify the victim, whose body was found about 1 a.m. in the 1400 block of South Standard Street, Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. They later used fingerprints to determine he was Jeffrey Enriquez of Santa Ana, he said.

Enriquez played football at Godinez Fundamental High School during his sophomore and junior years but had not been enrolled at the school since October, said Deidra Powell, a spokeswoman for Santa Ana Unified School District.

Detectives are trying to determine whether Enriquez was involved in gangs, Bertagna said.

“He’s not a documented gang member, but he has some associated factors,” he said.

Family members said they are desperate to learn what happened to Enriquez. This weekend, his former teammates held a carwash to raise money for his funeral.

Maria Enriquez said her son was never a gang member, but like many young men growing up in tough Santa Ana neighborhoods he sometimes admired the gang members on Minnie Street, where he lived until his mother lost her job and moved a few blocks south.

Enriquez last saw her son Thursday afternoon when he left home -- a living room his mother rented in the Cedar Evergreen neighborhood after she lost her job. She was there just before 1 a.m. Friday when her son was shot.

“I heard the gunshots, I was awake," she said. "I didn’t know it was for him."

Enriquez had seven brothers and sisters, his mother said.

He was a sweet kid who had difficulties controlling his emotions from a young age. He spent time in juvenile hall for graffiti and fights, she said.

But he had a big heart, she said, and dreamed of being a football player.

“I don’t know why it happened. But he was loved,” she said. "He did have his troubles but everybody loved him."

Police urged anyone with information about the case to call homicide detectives at (714) 245-8390, or Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.


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