BRENTWOOD, LONG ISLAND — In the same church in which Evelyn Rodriguez buried her daughter almost two years ago to the day, this community said goodbye to her, at her funeral.
The local mother became a prominent national activist against gang violence after her teenage daughter's life was taken in an apparent act of terror by the MS-13 gang.
Her funeral also became a rallying cry for an arrest to be made in Rodriguez's death.
"This community is mourning the loss of their mother," said Noel Vega, a friend of Rodriguez, and the head of the Long Island Punisher Riderz, a motorcycle enthusiast group. "She was a mother to this community."
Rodriguez, 50, earned that status by rising up in advocacy after she'd lost her daughter, Kayla Cuevas, as well as Cuevas's best friend Nisa Mickens, to apparent MS-13 gang violence in September 2016.
Last Friday, as she was setting up for her daughter's memorial service in front of the home where her daughter's body had been found found two years before to the day, a woman got into a dispute with Rodriguez over the memorial, according to eyewitnesses. The woman with whom Rodriguez had argued got into an SUV, and ended up running over Rodriguez. The woman did not flee the scene.
The case remains under investigation by local police, but after Rodriguez's funeral on Friday, some of her friends and supporters said that her death will only be justified if there's an arrest in regard to it.
"This was not an accident," said family friend Liz Cordero, "based on not only the video, but other accounts people in the community witnessed as well."
"This woman could have blown her horn, contacted 911," Cordero said about the SUV driver who fatally injured Rodriguez. "She did not have to do what she did. She was in no imminent danger."
There have been no arrests in the case.