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Mother of victim killed at DeSoto County fair remembers her one and only son

Daniel Rodrigez-Lopez
Posted at 5:20 PM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-07 20:50:11-05

DESOTO COUNTY, Fla - — It's been three days since 17-year-old Daniel Rodriguez-Lopez was fatally shot a the DeSoto County Fair, and Tuesday for the first time since his death his mother Stephanie Castro spoke out publicly.

Stephanie invited Fox 4 to her home which was only about a three minute drive from the fair where her son was killed. Surrounded by family, Stephanie fought through tears explaining how much her one and only son loved basketball, music, going fishing and he was the type of person that could make anyone laugh.

“He told me he was going to the fair and reassured me that he would be back...but he never came back," Stephanie said. “It's just overwhelming for me right now, I mean I haven't went outside my house for more than 20 minutes.”

"With our family we are always laughing and joking around smiling, it's never a dull moment, especially with Daniel around," said Pedro Castro, Daniel's Dad. "There was always a spark.”

Now for the family, that spark is gone and they said nothing will ever be the same and Stephanie said her family would never be able to go to a fair again.

Monday, an Arcadia Police sergeant confirmed with that before Daniel was shot, a fight broke out. When speaking about the fight, Stephanie said her son was not the type to allow anyone to be picked on. Now the family is left questioning why?

“For them to harm him the way they did, for them to beat on him before they decided to shoot him," Stephanie cried.

Days before Daniel was killed, another teen was killed in DeSoto county. With the recent gun violence, especially in the younger population, Daniel's family and the community is asking for the violence to stop.

“No kid deserves to die for anything," Stephanie said. "My son will truly be missed by me and my community. I am so thankful for everyone who has helped me.”

Arcadia Police still has not made any arrest and has not provided an update on the investigation since Monday. Daniel's family said they do believe the police have leads, but still wants anyone who may know something to speak up.

“I know there’s people who know and I know there are people holding back," Stephanie said. "Just step forward because in a year from—now two years from now, you’ll live with that regret, you will live with that ‘what if I would have say something'.”

Police ask if anyone has any information to contact SWFL crime stoppers to remain anonymous.