Evelyn Rodriguez, the New York mother who was recognized by President Donald Trump after her teen daughter was killed by MS-13 gang members, was struck and killed by an SUV as she was organizing a memorial service for the 2-year anniversary of her daughter’s death.
The 50-year-old mother was hit Friday afternoon in Brentwood, Long Island – just steps from where the body of her 16-year-old daughter, Kayla Cuevas, was found just two years ago.
The Suffolk County Police Department said Rodriguez and the driver of the SUV had been arguing moments earlier about “the placement of a memorial.”
“During the dispute, the driver […] attempted to leave the scene and her vehicle struck Rodriguez,” police said in a statement.
Rodriguez later died at the hospital.
"It's a tragedy beyond belief. Everyone is in shock. What more could happen to one woman?" Congressman Pete King told the Associated Press. King was on his way to the memorial for Kayla Cuevas when he heard Rodriguez had been killed.
The grieving mother has spoken out against the gang ever since her daughter and her friend, 15-year-old Nisa Mickens, was found beaten and slashed.
Rodriguez was invited to President Trump’s State of Union address in January during his campaign against MS-13 gang violence.
Hours after Rodriguez’s death, Trump tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with Evelyn Rodriguez this evening, along with her family and friends.”
The driver stayed at the scene of the crime and was not immediately arrested, police said, adding that there is no evidence Rodriguez’s death was an act of retribution by MS-13.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the case.