We hate to exploit this horrific double-tragedy for political propaganda. And maybe if Jocelyn Mercedes understands our point, she won’t see it as exploitation—just providing the inevitable context. Ultimately, both of her loved ones were killed by the same thing. From Newsday, May 3:
A Bronx woman who lost her husband to the Iraq War suffered a second devastating loss Thursday when their baby was run over by her car, police said.
Breysi Mercedes was holding her 1-year-old son, Christopher, near her parked Jeep Liberty in her Throgs Neck driveway when she realized the car was still moving, police said.
Mercedes, 24, somehow dropped the baby and the sport utility vehicle rolled over him at about 2:30 p.m., police said.
Heath Moldveen, 25, a neighbor who performed CPR on the baby, said he saw the SUV roll backward and hit a van across the street.
Another neighbor, Luis Cruz, an off-duty firefighter who attended to Christopher at the scene, said he pressed his finger to the baby’s solar plexus and he “started breathing very light.”
The mother yelled, “‘Don’t let my baby die,” Cruz said. “‘My husband died in Iraq. He’s not going to forgive me.’ ”
Mercedes told him she tripped while trying to put the baby in the car and he fell, Cruz said. “And by the time she tried to pull him up, the car ran him over,” Cruz said, adding that the boy was hit by the left front tire and his left arm was crushed. Christopher was taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where he died, police said.
“It’s a tragedy for all my family,” said Evelyn Mercedes, 65, of Washington Heights, the baby’s great-grandmother. “My grandson dies. Now, this happens to the baby.”
Breysi Mercedes was 8 months pregnant with Christopher on Feb. 5, 2006, when her husband, Army Spc. Sergio Mercedes Saez, was killed in Baghdad. The Humvee in which Saez was riding accidentally rolled over into a canal.
Born in Puerto Rico to parents from the Dominican Republic, Saez was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Ky.
Breysi Mercedes was living in the Dominican Republic when her husband died. She had planned to move with him to New York City, where his family lives in Washington Heights. A few months ago, she finally came with her baby, moving into a quiet house in Throgs Neck, said Saez’s brother, Michael Mercedes, 15, of Washington Heights.
There, she celebrated Christopher’s first birthday with about 30 friends and family, eating cakes decorated with Nickelodeon characters and singing the children’s song “B-I-N-G-O.”
“At the party, her face was just full of joy,” said Michael Mercedes, a student at George Washington High School.
Michael Mercedes said he last saw Christopher and his mother on Sunday, when she came to Washington Heights in her new SUV. The boy had learned to take a few steps.
“He was a very happy baby,” said Mercedes, a Navy JROTC cadet who plans to enlist in the Army or the Marines. “He looked like me. He looked like my brother.”
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