FILE – In this March 2, 2017 file photo, Evelyn Rodriguez, the mother of Kayla Cuevas, 16, who is brutally killed in 2016, allegedly by the members of the MS-13 street gang, stops to talk to members of the press gathered outside the U. S. District Court in Central Islip, new york Rodriguez, which was recognised by President Donald Trump on the State of the Union, after his daughter was murdered, was struck and killed by a car on her daughter’s memorial on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Kathy Will, File)
BRENTWOOD, new york – A mother recognized by President Donald Trump for turning grief about her daughter’s suspected gang killing in a crusade against MS-13, was remembered at her funeral Friday as a hero and a warrior.
Tim Sini, the district attorney of Suffolk County, New York, named Evelyn Rodriguez “our Batman and Robin.”
“The world has lost a great warrior,” Sini told mourners at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in Brentwood. “Evelyn was such a strong person I have ever met.”
Rodriguez, 50, was struck and killed by an SUV on Sept. 14 after a confrontation with the driver over the placement of a memorial for her slain daughter, Kayla Cuevas. Rodriguez and one other person were seen to stand in the street and yelling at the driver of the SUV before the vehicle flew forward and hit her.
Rodriguez was killed two years to the day after Cuevas’ beaten, beaten body was found. Cuevas and her friend, 15-year-old Nisa Mickens, ran when police say they were attacked by MS-13 gang members. Mickens’ body was found a few hundred metres in the vicinity of a primary school.
Lt.-Gov. Kathy Hochul encouraged mourners to remain Rodriguez’s crusade, and offered a message to MS-13:
“You will be stopped,” Hochul said. “Your evil will be thwarted at every step, because you have a fire under this community. That will be the lasting legacy of what Evelyn reached in the name of Kayla and other victims of senseless violence.”
The driver of the SUV that killed Rodriguez was not injured. They remained at the scene and called 911. The police have not released the driver’s name — even though usual — with reference to the research.
Rodriguez spoke out against the gang, and the local school district after Cuevas and Mickens were attacked with machetes and baseball bats. The girls’ alleged murderers, who were arrested along with a dozen other suspected MS-13 members, will be faced with murder charges that could lead to the death penalty.
Rodriguez filed a $110 million lawsuit last December against the Brentwood School District, claiming that it ignored warnings that MS-13 members threatened Kayla. Rodriguez said that employees failed to act when told that the girl was threatened. The lawsuit says the bullying went on for two years before the teenager was killed.
MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, is the debt of dozens of murders on Long Island since 2016. Trump has blamed the violence on the lax immigration policy.
Rodriguez was with Cuevas’ father, Freddy Cuevas, and Mickens the parents on the State of the Union in January and was sitting next to Trump and the King, with a gang violence forum in May on Long Island.
“My daughter, Kayla, was a beautiful girl,” said Rodriguez on the forum. “She had dreams, and they took away from her. That is not good. And how these children were murdered, tortured, is unacceptable.”