The grieving mother of a teenager who was murdered by MS-13 gang members was struck and killed Friday by an SUV on Long Island. Evelyn Rodriguez, 50, was preparing to attend a nearby candlelight vigil for her daughter.
Who was she?
Rodriguez became an advocate for eradicating gang violence after her daughter, Kayla Cuevas, 16, and her best friend, Nisa Mickens, 15, were brutally killed in 2016. She was recognized for her work by President Donald Trump during his State of the Union address in January.
Rodriguez was hit on Ray Court in Brentwood, Long Island, near a wooded area where the remains of the two teens were found exactly two years ago — to the day. The girls died after they were “beaten with baseball bats and hacked with a machete by MS-13 gang members,” the New York Post reported.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Evelyn Rodriguez this evening, along with her family and friends. #RIPEvelyn,” Trump tweeted Friday.
Rodriguez and a woman driving a white 2016 Nissan Rogue got into a heated argument over a memorial display for the two victims that was placed in front of a house on the block. News 12 Long Island station reported that the homeowner came out and began dismantling the memorial.
Video shot by the TV station shows Rodriguez and a man confronting the driver, who was identified as "a relative" of someone who lives at the home. At one point, the driver accelerated the SUV and ran over Rodriguez, according to reports. The news outlet did not air that portion of the footage.
The incident is not believed to be gang-inspired, according to reports.
The driver of the SUV called 911 and remained on the scene. No arrests were reported as of the time of this writing, but the Suffolk County Police homicide squad is continuing to investigate.
The MS-13 gang has committed at least 25 murders on Long Island.
Rogriguez's activism included talking about the need to put aside political differences and address the nation’s gang problem.
Trump has talked about MS-13, a violent gang founded by Salvadoran refugees in Los Angeles, as a reason for more security at the nation's borders.