Evelyn Rodriguez remembered as ‘warrior for peace’

Posted: Updated:

A Brentwood mother who spoke out against gang violence after her daughter's brutal slaying was laid to rest today.

Evelyn Rodriguez dedicated her life to her daughter Kayla Cuevas’s memory after alleged MS-13 gang members killed her and her friend, Nisa Mickens, in 2016. Rodriguez was one of President Donald Trump’s guests during the State of the Union earlier this year. She had spoken with the president about gang violence and finding ways to stop it.

Last Friday, Rodriguez was killed after she and Freddy Cuevas confronted an SUV driver over the placement for a memorial to the two girls. A vigil for them had been planned for later in the evening.

MORE: Family, friends remember anti-gang advocate Evelyn Rodriguez

The driver then hit the gas and ran over Rodriguez. No charges have been filed against that driver.

Rodriguez was remembered as a “warrior for peace” at her funeral at St. Anne’s Church in Brentwood.

Hundreds were at St. Anne’s to celebrate Rodriguez’s life, including members of the Suffolk County Police Department, District Attorney Tim Sini and Rep. Peter King. 

"She was not interested in making political points, she was not interested in scoring for one party over the other, she just wanted to work with people to get the job done," said King.

Mourners were urged to carry on her legacy to make her community a safer place to live.

"Evelyn can never be replaced," said DA Sini. "She can be honored each and every day by every one of us by continuing her fight for good."

Rodriguez's partner and the father to her children, Freddy Cuevas, summed up the loss and heartache.

"Evelyn, all I can say is rest in peace, my warrior, my queen, my rock, my everything in my world," he said. 

She was buried next to her daughter in Central Islip.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."