Community gathers in grief for woman stabbed to death in Washington Heights

Tyquane Jemmott has been charged with second-degree murder

CeFaan Kim Image
Friday, May 24, 2024
Community gathers in grief for woman stabbed to death in Washington Heights
CeFaan Kim has more on the candlelight vigil held for Shirley Rodriguez.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Family members, friends and community activists gathered for a candlelight vigil Thursday night in Washington Heights, to honor a woman who was brutally stabbed to death earlier in the week.

A growing memorial now covers Shirley Rodriguez's doorstep where she fought until her final moments.

She fought so she could utter her killer's name. As she struggled to make it back home, she told her father, "Ty did this." It was her ex-boyfriend.

"Shirley would light up a room with her smile and her presence. We're all struggling to comprehend what happened here," said Shirley's father Henry Rodriguez.

Officers say what happened here was a brutal murder.

They say the victim's ex-boyfriend, 33-year-old Tyquane Jemmott, hid between two parked cars outside her apartment on Haven Avenue in Washington Heights. He was waiting for her.

When she left for work Monday morning, police say he stabbed her repeatedly, for more than a minute, and dragged her as she fought back, all while mortified bystanders witnessed the horror.

When they called the police and chased him, he fled.

Rodriguez and her ex had been together for two years before breaking up last week.

He has been arrested and charged with murder in the second degree. Jemmott was arraigned on Thursday.

"Shirley might be gone from this world physically, but her spirit will live on forever," Henry Rodriguez said.

"I loved her... she was a friendly person and happy person," Shirley's grandmother Carmen Rodriguez said.

On Thursday night, heartbreak poured into the street as the Rodriguez family felt the crush of an immeasurable pain. Hundreds joined anti-domestic violence advocates, shaken by the heinous murder.

"We stand here today as a unified front to denounce domestic violence and to bring a light to this very shameful and dark situation," said Stephanie McGraw of WARM Inc. "We know that silence has violence. And today we are here to say we will no longer be silent."

They tried to drown out sorrow with song, but no amount of harmony could soften a mother's anguish.


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