BRENTWOOD, Long Island – The mother of a teen killed by alleged MS-13 gang members in Brentwood was fatally struck by a vehicle at the site where a memorial service was about to be held for her daughter on Friday, officials confirmed.
Evelyn Rodriguez, the mother of Kayla Cuevas, was killed at the same spot on Stahley Street where her daughter was found dead in September 2016. Congressman Peter King says it happened about an hour before a planned memorial service at that location for her daughter.
Suffolk County police say they are investigating.
Cuevas, 16, and her friend, Nisa Mickens, 15, were found beaten and hacked to death in the Long Island neighborhood of Brentwood, the killings blamed on the MS-13 gang. Cuevas’ body was found on Sept. 14, 2016. Brentwood has since become the epicenter in the fight against MS-13 violence.
Evelyn Rodriguez has passed away. Terrible news. RIP
– Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) September 14, 2018
The parents of both teens were invited to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech in 2018.
Evelyn Rodriguez was also invited to meet with Trump before the speech.
“While we cannot imagine the depths of that kind of sorrow,” Trump said. “We can make sure other families never have to endure this kind of pain. Tonight, I am calling on Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that allow MS-13 and other criminal gangs to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws.”
Prosecutors say Cuevas was targeted because of ongoing disputes with gang members at her school. They say Mickens was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The girls’ alleged killers, who were arrested along with about a dozen other alleged MS-13 members, are facing murder charges that could result in the death penalty.
The deaths of the two girls put a sharpened focus on what had already been a spate of gang violence on Long Island.
Rodriguez told The New York Times she was honored to be invited and said the focus on MS-13 wasn’t about immigration. She said everybody should put their political agenda aside and think about what’s going on in the country.