Father Speaks Out On Family Tragedy 2 Years After Alleged Gang Slaying Of Teen


  • Evelyn Rodriguez was the outspoken mother of a daughter killed by alleged MS-13 gang members.
  • She was a featured guest of President Donald Trump at his State of the Union address.
  • A dispute over a memorial for her daughter led to her being fatally run over.
  • Police say the driver of the vehicle involved is cooperating with police and the death is not considered gang-related.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An anti-gang activist struck and killed at a memorial for her murdered daughter is being remembered for her courage, but family members also have questions about how it happened.

READ MORE: Campaign 2021: Early Voting Begins In New Jersey And New York City

Suffolk County police say 50-year-old Evelyn Rodriguez had argued with a driver about the memorial for Kayla Cuevas before being run over Friday.

Kayla’s father Freddy Cuevas says he and Rodriguez had rushed to site when they got a tip someone was removing mementos. Police say Rodriguez got into an argument shortly after 4 p.m. with a person related to a resident living on Ray Court in Brentwood regarding the placement of a memorial gathering.

The person attempted to drive away in a 2016 Nissan Rouge and stuck Rodriguez, killing her. She was transported to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where she was pronounced dead.

“We approached them and asked them why the situation occurred, what brought the situation to the point that it did, and they didn’t want to say nothing,” said Freddy Cuevas.

“It took a turning point that it shouldn’t have taken because there’s no reason for them to spin out and drive off,” he said.

READ MORE: Many New Yorkers Canceling, Scaling Back Halloween Festivities Due To COVID Concerns

A news crew who were on the scene filmed the fatal crash, and police are reviewing their video footage as part of the investigation.

The driver of the car stopped, called 911 and is cooperating with police, said police. The incident was not believed to be related to MS-13 gang activity.

President Trump tweeted about Rodriguez Friday, “My thoughts and prayers are with Evelyn Rodriguez this evening, along with her family and friends. #RIPEvelyn.”

President Donald Trump speaks alongside Evelyn Rodriguez, whose daughter was killed by MS-13 gang members, during a roundtable discussion on immigration at Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage, New York, on May 23, 2018. (credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Rodriguez had been a persistent advocate for ending gang violence on Long Island since her 16-year-old’s death and was a featured guest at President Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union address.

MORE NEWS: Alec Baldwin Was Told Gun Was 'Cold' Before Fatal Movie Set Shooting, Court Records Show

Law enforcement officials and lawmakers from across New York’s Long Island spoke out after news to the death broken on Friday, calling Rodriguez “fearless in her fight to put an end to the violence” who “never stopped fighting for her daughter and for every child in the community.”