SAN ANTONIO – A 17-year-old battling cancer was shot and killed days before receiving his Make-A-Wish foundation gift – to see his grandfather’s pickup truck restored.
Diego Rodriguez, from San Antonio, was trying to take a gun away from a 15-year-old boy when the firearm discharged, striking Rodriguez in the chest, the boy’s father said.
Rodriguez was rushed to an area hospital where he died early Tuesday. Police have charged the juvenile suspect with murder in Diego’s death.
Rodriguez had been diagnosed with leg cancer two years ago, according to KENS News.
After the diagnosis, his mother promised him she would give him his grandfather’s truck if he could make it to his 16th birthday. The family reached out to the Make-A-Wish foundation to help make it happen.
“He was like really super excited,” Jason Pena, manager of BlackJack Speed Shop, which is owned by retired NBA great Tim Duncan. “He wanted his truck re-done and he wanted it re-done by BlackJack Speed Shop.”
The beloved, family truck has been in the shop for a complete makeover – a new paint job, custom interior, new suspension, new wheels and new tires. Pena said Duncan himself was going to meet Rodriguez Friday for the grand unveiling.
Kathrin Brewer, the CEO for the South Texas chapter of Make-A-Wish issued the following statement after learning of Diego’s death:
“There is nothing we can do to make up for (Diego’s) loss, but we hope that his car will be a great reminder to his mother that the realization of their dream and the community they had made a difference for him and gave him strength.”