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Mourners Remember Man Killed In Jersey City Shooting


Mourners gathered in Paterson, N.J., last night to remember 49-year-old Douglas Miguel Rodriguez. He was one of three civilian victims killed in a targeted attack of a kosher supermarket in Jersey City Tuesday. Gwynne Hogan from member station WNYC reports.

GWYNNE HOGAN, BYLINE: In Ecuador, Douglas Miguel Rodriguez had a degree in commercial engineering and worked for an insurance company. But when he moved to New Jersey in 2016, he took work where he could get it to support his wife and young daughter who'd immigrated with him. Eventually, he found a job at the JC Kosher Supermarket. His shifts were 12 hours long, six days a week, according to his wife, Martha Freire.

His memorial service was conducted in both English and Spanish. In front of the crowd of mourners, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop spoke to Freire, who was seated in the front row, her arm around her daughter.


STEVEN FULOP: Your family embodies everything that this country aspires to be. The faith, the commitment, the dream in something bigger - and that Douglas embodied that.

HOGAN: An aide to Senator Bob Menendez presented Freire with an American flag that had hung in the Capitol in Rodriguez' honor. She broke down in sobs as she unfolded it and held it proudly in front of her. Then their 11-year-old daughter Amy spoke. She wore a blue dress, her long, dark hair clipped in a bow.


AMY: I love my father with all my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Spanish).

AMY: And I miss him.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Spanish).

AMY: I want to thank God for all the years that he gave me with him.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Spanish).

AMY: I will always have him in my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Speaking Spanish).

HOGAN: Then Freire finally addressed the crowd. She said the couple met when they were 16 and started dating in college. Through a translator, she delivered a message of love. She said she forgave her husband's killers.


MARTHA FREIRE: (Through interpreter) I forgive him because if I have hatred in my heart, this what I'm living would be worse.

HOGAN: She says she didn't know what pain they'd suffered in their life to be driven to such a horrible act. And she urged people to love more because of what had happened to her husband, not less.


FREIRE: (Through interpreter) Therefore, let's give more love. Let's get - worry more about our children.

HOGAN: Officials from the Ecuadorian Consulate say Rodriguez' body will be sent to Ecuador for burial on Tuesday, the same day of Detective Joseph Seals' memorial. Funerals for the two Orthodox Jewish victims of the attack occurred earlier this week. The New Jersey attorney general says the two shooters held anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement beliefs and had intended for their rampage to be far deadlier.

For NPR News, I'm Gwynne Hogan in Paterson.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: December 15, 2019 at 12:00 AM EST
A previous Web introduction to this report misstated Douglas Miguel Rodriguez's first name as David.
Gwynne Hogan