FUNERAL FOR A CRUSADER

September 22, 2018 at 5:00 am

Brentwood Long Island’s Evelyn Rodriguez became a crusader against gang violence after her daughter was murdered by MS-13. This week, she was struck down by an SUV at her daughter’s memorial. Her funeral was this morning. We honor her life and discuss continuing her work with Suffolk County Executive, Steven Bellone.

Aired on September 21, 2018.

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> GOOD EVENING.
WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."
A MASS THURSDAY AND FUNERAL THIS
FRIDAY WAS HELD TO REMEMBER THE
LIFE OF AN ANTI-GANG ACTIVIST.
AFTER THE DEATH OF HER DAUGHTER
AT THE HANDS OF THE MS-13 GANG,
EVELYN HAD BECOME A STEADFAST
CAMPAIGNER, PUSHING LAWMAKERS TO
FUND GANG PREVENTION PROGRAMS IN
THE COMMUNITY'S SCHOOLS TO
ENSURE THAT OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE
DID NOT BECOME A VICTIM OF MS-13
BRUTALITY.
EVELYN WAS IN ATTENDANCE AT THIS
YEAR'S STATE OF THE UNION
ADDRESS AND RECOGNIZED BY THE
PRESIDENT IN THAT SPEECH.
>> EVELYN, ELIZABETH, FREDDY AND
ROBERT, EVERYONE IN THIS CHAMBER
IS PRAYING FOR YOU.
EVERYONE IN AMERICA IS GRIEVING
FOR YOU.
>> LAST WEEK RODRIGUEZ WAS
TRAGICALLY KILLED AFTER BEING
RUN OVER BY AN SUV AT THE SCENE
OF A MEMORIAL ASSEMBLED IN HONOR
OF HER DAUGHTER.
THE INVESTIGATION INTO EVELYN'S
DEATH HAS BEEN LAUNCHED WITH
VIDEO FOOTAGE SUGGESTING THAT
SHE HAD BEEN IN AN EARLIER
DISPUTE WITH THE DRIVER OF THE
CAR.
SUFFOLK COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEPHEN
MALONE KNEW HER FIRSTHAND AND
WE'RE GLAD TO HAVE HIM JOIN US.
IT'S SO DIFFICULT WHEN YOU'RE
TALKING ABOUT SOMEBODY WHO HAD
BEEN SO ACTIVELY INVOLVED AS A
CRUSADE EASTERN ALL OF A SUDDEN
YOU SEE HER LIFE SNUFFED OUT
ALSO.
TELL ME ABOUT THE TYPE OF WORK
THAT EVELYN HAD BEEN DOING.
>> THANK YOU, JACK.
IT'S UNIMAGINABLE THE
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS TWO YEARS
AFTER THE BRUTAL MURDER OF HER
DAUGHTER EVELYN IN THE SAME SPOT
WHERE HER DAUGHTER WAS MURDERED
AT THE MEMORIAL SITE, KILLED.
IF YOU WERE TO TRY TO PUT THIS
INTO A MOVIE SCRIPT, IT WOULD
NOT BE BELIEVED.
BUT OUT OF THAT INCREDIBLE
TRAGEDY INSTEAD OF PULLING INTO
HERSELF, REACHED OUT TO THE
COMMUNITY AND MADE IT HER
MISSION IN MEMORY OF HER
DAUGHTER TO FIGHT FOR EVERY KID
IN THAT COMMUNITY, TO MAKE SURE
THAT OTHER PARENTS DIDN'T HAVE
TO SUFFER WHAT SHE WAS
SUFFERING.
AND THE RESULT OF THAT IS SHE
BECAME THIS GREAT FORCE FOR
CHANGE AND FOR HELPING TO CREATE
A SAFER COMMUNITY FOR ALL OF THE
KIDS THERE.
>> CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT
THE CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THOSE
FOLKS WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE
FOLLOWED THIS STORY, THE
CIRCUMSTANCES OF EVELYN'S DEATH?
>> SHE WAS PLANNING FOR THE
MEMORIAL AT THE SITE WHERE MS-13
HAD BRUTALLY MURDERED CAYLA TWO
YEARS AGO.
AND THE MEMORIAL HAD BEEN
REMOVED BY THE HOMEOWNER OR
RELATIVE OF THE HOMEOWNER AND
THERE WAS A DISPUTE AND
OBVIOUSLY WE KNOW THAT THE
RESULT IS EVELYN WAS THE VICTIM
OF ACCIDENT IN WHICH SHE WAS RUN
OVER.
IT IS UNDER INVESTIGATION
CURRENTLY STILL.
I CAN'T COMMENT ON IT FURTHER
THAN THAT.
>> LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE
ABOUT WHAT WE HAD MENTIONED IN
TERMS OF THE WORK THAT EVELYN
WAS DOING.
TRYING TO GENERATE FUNDS TO BE
USED IN SCHOOLS TO TRY TO
DISCOURAGE YOUNG PEOPLE FROM
GETTING INVOLVED IN GANG
ACTIVITIES.
WERE YOU SEEING ANY PROGRESS IN
TERMS OF BOTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
STATE GOVERNMENT, EVEN FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT IN THAT AREA?
>> WITHOUT QUESTION.
AND I CAN TELL YOU, JACK, FROM
THE MOMENT I MET EVELYN AND THE
DAYS AFTER HER DAUGHTER'S
MURDER, SHE WAS DETERMINED TO
GET JUSTICE FOR CAYLA.
BUT RIGHT FROM THE OUTSET, SHE
WAS DETERMINED TO PROTECT OTHER
KIDS IN THE COMMUNITY.
AND SHE REALLY BECAME A FORCE
FOR FIGHTING FOR THAT, FIGHTING
FOR RESOURCES FOR COMMUNITY,
WORKING FOR US, HELD A NUMBER OF
MEETINGS WITH ME.
AND THEN POLICE COMMISSIONER AND
NOW OUR DISTRICT ATTORNEY.
AND THE RESULT, YOU KNOW,
SIGNIFICANTLY THROUGH ADVOCACY,
WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO WORK WITH
GOVERNOR CUOMO, GET MILLIONS OF
DOLLARS IN FUNDING TO HELP
CREATE A COMMUNITY SUPPORT
AROUND THESE VULNERABLE KIDS WHO
WERE BEING RECRUITED BY MS 13,
THIS CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION.
SO SHE WAS A FORCE.
SHE PRODUCED RESULTS.
AND IT IS STILL UNIMAGINABLE TO
US THAT THIS PERSON WHO'S DONE
SO MUCH GOOD OUT OF TRAGEDY IS
NO LONGER WITH US.
>> THIS IS A WAR THAT IS BEING
FOUGHT ON A NUMBER OF FRONTS.
AND WE'VE TALKED A LITTLE BIT
ABOUT THE PREVENTION AREA NOW
THAT YOU MENTIONED.
WHAT ABOUT LITERALLY ON THE
STREETS?
LAW ENFORCEMENT TRYING TO TAKE
MS 13 GANG MEMBERS OFF OF THE
STREETS
STREETS.
WHAT SORT OF PROGRESS ARE WE
SEEING THERE?
>> YOU KNOW THAT, WAS THE
IMMEDIATE WHEN CAYLA AND LISA
WERE BRUTALLY MURDERED AWAKENING
THE REGION, THE STATE, AND
EVENTUALLY THE COUNTRY TO THE
ISSUES OF MS-13 AND THE WAY THIS
BRUTAL GANG OPERATES.
THE POLICE DEPARTMENT UNDER THE
LEADERSHIP OF THE LAW
ENFORCEMENT PARTNERS AND HE
WORKED TO BRING TOGETHER SINCE
HE CAME INTO THAT POSITION,
HUNDREDS OF MS-13 GANG MEMBERS
HAVE BEEN ARRESTED.
A NUMBER OF CASES DEVELOPED IN
FEDERAL COURTS TO PUT AWAY
PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE AND
OTHER MURDERS FOR SIGNIFICANT
PERIODS OF TIME.
SO THERE'S BEEN TREMENDOUS
PROGRESS MADE ON THE LAW
ENFORCEMENT FRONT.
WE'RE NOT GOING TO STOP.
WE'RE GOING TO KEEP OUR FOOT ON
THE PEDAL.
WE MADE A COMMITMENT TO EVELYN
AND TO OTHER INDIVIDUALS WHO
SUFFERED LOSSES AND TO THE
COMMUNITY THAT WE WILL NOT STOP
UNTIL MS-13 IS ELIMINATED FROM
OUR COMMUNITY.
>> AS WE SAID AT THE VERY
BEGINNING, ALMOST UNIMAGINABLE
LOSS OF EVELYN RODRIGUEZ WHO HAD
BECOME SUCH A ADVOCATE AND
EFFECTIVE ADVOCATE AFTER THE
TRAGIC LOSS OF HER DAUGHTER.
IT'S JUST TOUGH FOR US TO HANDLE
ALL OF.
THIS BUT SUFFOLK COUNTY
EXECUTIVE, THANK YOU FOR
SPENDING TIME WITH US AND GIVING
US AN UPDATE ON HOW THINGS ARE
GOING AND ALSO GIVING US A
LITTLE BIT MORE INSIGHT INTO
EVELYN'S LIFE AND HER LOSS.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
YOU BE WELL.
>> THANK YOU, JACK.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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