A New York mother whose daughter was allegedly killed by MS-13 gang members was fatally struck by an SUV at the site of her daughter’s memorial on Friday, after a confrontation with the vehicle’s driver.
Evelyn Rodriguez, who had been recognized by President Donald Trump in his State of the Union address as part of his ongoing campaign against MS-13 gang violence, was hit by the SUV at around 4p.m. in Brentwood, the Associated Press reported.
The incident occurred just an hour before a service for Rodriguez’s 16-year-old daughter, Kayla Cueva, was expected to be held, marking two years since the day the teenager was found dead.
Cueva’s 15-year-old friend Nisa Mickens was also killed, with their deaths being part of a string of violent murders in the area.
Rodriguez, 50, had reportedly gotten into an argument with a relative of a person living near the memorial over its placement, police told AP.
At some point during the argument, the person in the SUV allegedly sped forward and struck the grieving mother.
The driver, whose name has yet to be released, remained at the scene and called 911, police said.
After learning about the incident Trump offered his condolences, writing on Twitter: “My thoughts and prayers are with Evelyn Rodriguez this evening, along with her family and friends.”
“RIP Evelyn,” he wrote.
At this point, authorities have not indicated that there is any evidence linking MS-13 to Rodriguez’s death.
MS-13, which is also known as Mara Salvatrucha, first emerged in Los Angeles in the 1980s as a neighborhood street gang.
Federal prosecutors have alleged that the gang is predominantly made up of members who came to the U.S. as immigrants from Central America.
Eradicating the gang from the U.S. has become a central focal point in the Trump administration’s ongoing crackdown on immigration.