NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Every July for the past five years, a sign of a smiling teen girl is placed at the I-24/40 split by the family of Liliana Rodriguez. It’s a reminder of the young woman who was shot to death on the way home from celebrating her 18th birthday.
Rodriguez’s death remained a mystery until today. We now know Liliana was killed by an MS-13 gang member and the bullet was intended for someone else in the car.
It was July 31, 2016, and Liliana Rodriguez was in a car on her way home from La Mansion Club in Antioch.
“She’s a really sweet girl, very smart, and my friend,” said her mother, Claudia Rodriguez.
Throughout the years, Claudia has spoken with News 2 trying to make sense of it all. A car with MS-13 gang members pulled up alongside the group firing multiple shots, according to a federal indictment.
“My son is driving, his friend [in the passenger seat], and then Lily’s behind Rodrigo and another girl,” Rodriguez explained.
The accused gunman is Jose Pineda-Caceres. He apparently pulled the trigger as part of an initiation and to maintain an increasing position in the gang. The bullet that pierced Liliana’s heart was intended for someone else in the car with the initials R.R., according to detectives. No one else was injured.
“It changed my life. Changed my life.”
Rodriguez is still processing the news and didn’t want to provide a statement this time but says how she felt in the past still holds true today.
“I suffer because she’s not here, but I have a lot of peace. These 18 years, she left me a lot of memories,” Rodriguez told News 2 in 2019.