A Texas teenager suffering from bone cancer was shot and killed Tuesday, shortly before he was to receive his gift from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Diego Rodriguez, 17, had dreamed of having his grandfather’s 1993 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck restored when he was accidentally shot by a 15-year-old whose name has not been released, the San Antonio Express-News and others reported.
Rodriguez reportedly tried to take the gun away when it fired accidentally during the scuffle. The 15-year-old is now facing murder charges.
The car, a treasured heirloom, has been in Diego's family for 23 years. Rodriguez’s mother promised him that if he survived to his 16th birthday, she would have the vehicle restored.
“I was excited to bring some joy to a young man who was down for the better part of his earlier years,” Jason Pena, a co-owner of San Antonio’s BlackJack Speed Shop, which was overseeing the restoration, told InsideEdition.com. “I am just saddened and disappointed that he is not going to be able to physically see the final product and end result of his wish.”
Pena said the car was in such poor condition that he was initially reluctant to take on the project but changed his mind after a plea from Diego’s mother.
“She was so intent and adamant that this dream be fulfilled for her son,” he said. “The truck was probably worth $1,500.” Pena estimated that the restoration likely cost him $15,000.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation also expressed shock and sadness upon hearing the news.
“There is nothing we can do to make up for [Diego’s] loss, but we hope that his car will be a great reminder to his mother that the realization of their dream and the community they had made a difference for him and gave him strength,” Kathrin Brewer the CEO of the South Texas chapter of the foundation said in a statement to local media.
Efforts to reach Brewer by InsideEdition.com were unsuccessful.
The truck, which was expected to be unveiled to Rodriguez today, will now serve as part of his funeral procession.