The community is the epicenter of the fight against MS-13 violence on
Rodriguez and another person were standing in the street and yelling at the driver of the SUV before the vehicle sped forward and struck her, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
So far, there is no evidence of ties to MS-13 or any indication that the crash was retribution by the gang, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
The driver remained at the scene and was not immediately arrested, according to the official, who added that detectives are still investigating what prompted the confrontation.
“It’s a tragedy beyond belief,” King told the AP. “Everyone is in shock. What more could happen to one woman?”
“She was a fierce advocate for her hometown of
Rodriguez spoke out against the gang and the local school district after Cuevas and Mickens were attacked with machetes and baseball bats. Mickens’ body was found near an elementary school on
The girls’ alleged killers, who were arrested along with about a dozen other suspected MS-13 members, are facing murder charges that could result in the death penalty.
MS-13, or the Mara Salvatrucha, is blamed for dozens of killings on
Prosecutors say Kayla was targeted because of ongoing disputes with gang members at her school. They say Nisa was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Rodriguez filed a
Rodriguez said that employees failed to act when told that the girl was being threatened. The lawsuit says the bullying went on for two years before the teenager was killed.
Rodriguez told a House subcommittee last year that residents were living in fear and were afraid to let their kids play outside.
“The MS-13 gang is so unpredictable you just don’t know who is who with them,” Rodriguez said. “MS-13 is a new breed of murderers, they are children, kids killing kids, and as they continue to grow, so does their techniques of recruiting helpless kids into their wicked actions.”
MS-13 is believed by federal prosecutors to have thousands of members across the
It has a stronghold in
Cuevas and Mickens’ deaths put a sharpened focus on what had already been a spate of gang violence on
Last month, an MS-13 member pleaded guilty to participating in the brutal massacre of four young men in nearby
Balsamo reported from