‘He didn't deserve to die': Family of Metro stabbing victim speaks out about their grief

Jesse Rodriguez, who was stabbed and killed Sept. 7 while riding a Metro train, was just two weeks away from his 24th birthday.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The devastated family of the man who was killed in a seemingly random stabbing last week while traveling on a Metro train in Los Angeles is speaking out about their grief.

Jesse Rodriguez, 23, was killed Sept. 7 when a man approached him with a hunting knife and stabbed him in the chest as they traveled aboard a Metro B (Red) line train, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said. The victim’s family, who is overwhelmed with grief, is hoping their loved one’s death prompts city leaders to take more measures to increase safety on public transportation.

According to Rodriguez’s family, they were told by police that the assailant was experiencing a mental health crisis at the time of the attack.

“He thought my brother was some type of person following him,” said Victoria Hernandez, the victim’s older sister. “He ended up stabbing him in the heart and killing him.”

When the train pulled into Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, transit officers saw Rodriguez bleeding profusely and holding his chest. He was rushed to an area hospital, where he later died of his wounds.

“To find out that he was just minding his own business riding the train, I don’t know if it makes it worse or better,” Hernandez said.

The suspect, who was arrested Saturday and now faces a murder charge, was identified as 31-year-old Randy Nash.

“Why did you take my baby? He didn’t even know you,” said Katherine Rodriguez, Jesse’s mother.

According to the victim’s loved ones, Jesse was just two weeks away from his birthday. He is remembered for his quick wit and sense of humor. He was the youngest of five children.

“Everybody who knew him loved him for who he was,” Hernandez said. “He was funny and smart. He didn’t deserve to die, let alone how he died.”

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón released a statement regarding the fatal attack.

“I offer my deepest condolences to the loved ones of Mr. Rodriguez,” Gascón said in his statement. “This is a heartbreaking loss that affects us all as many Angelenos utilize public transportation daily and should not have to live in fear that they will be randomly attacked during their commutes. My office will do everything possible to ensure justice is served for Mr. Rodriguez and his family.”

Nash pleaded not guilty to murder in the case on Tuesday. He is scheduled to return to court Oct. 13 for a preliminary hearing. It is unclear if an attorney is available to speak on his behalf.

In the meantime, Jesse’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover his funeral expenses.

Contact Us