Friends and supporters of the Elena Rodriguez family gathered last Thursday at the site where Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez was shot and killed 18 months ago on Oct. 10, 2012.
About 40 people stood next to a white metal cross erected on the spot where the 16-year-old Nogales, Sonora resident was killed by at least one Border Patrol agent who fired through the border fence onto Calle Internacional during an alleged drug-smuggling and rock-throwing incident.
“A year and a half later, I feel the absence of my son even more,” said Jose Antonio’s mother Araceli Rodriguez. “It’s something that 20 years could go by and I still couldn’t get over.”
An autopsy report indicated Elena Rodriguez was shot as many as 11 times, with most of the bullets entering through his back. The U.S. Department of Justice has declined to comment on the shootings, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.
“A reporter once asked me what I thought about the accident that happened here. I said, ‘What accident? This was a murder,” Rodriguez said.
The April 10 gathering was the 18th monthly gathering since the shooting, Jose Antonio’s grandmother, Taide Elena, told the crowd of people who came from as nearby as Nogales, Sonora and Tucson, and from as far away as Puebla, Mexico and Colombia.
“I feel like you are all part of my family, you who come every 10th of the month,” Rodriguez said. “It makes me feel like justice could be done.
“Thank you for being here. Thank you for not leaving me all by myself,” she said.
Gilberto “Tito” Bojorquez, an associate pastor at the Sol de Justicia Presbyterian Church, spoke to the crowd about a root growing in dry ground, saying perseverance by supporters of the Elena Rodriguez family would eventually bear fruit.
Despite the silence from U.S. authorities and lack of action on the part of the Mexican government, Rodriguez said, the monthly gatherings made her feel like justice could be done and she vowed to continue calling for a transparent investigation of the shooting.
“We aren’t going to shut up,” she said. “Put yourself in my place, what would you do?”