Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004 Page: 25
This periodical is part of the collection entitled: Legacies: a History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the Dallas Historical Society.
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"YOU'VE GOT To BE
AN INTERVIEW WITH PEDRO AGUIRRE
edro Aguirre was a new Dallas City Council
member in 1973 when the city experienced
one of its most tragic incidents, the killing of
twelve-year-old Santos Rodriguez by a police
officer. In an interview conducted by historian
Darwin Payne on February 11, 2004, Aguirre
recalled his role in calming the demonstrators
who gathered at City Hall to protest the shooting.
Payne: I wonder if you could just give us the
background of the incident and tell us what happened
on those days of the rioting and your
experience with it.
Aguirre: Remember, the Santos Rodriguez
case was a very traumatic experience for me. It
was pivotal in my service on the Dallas City
Council because it came early in the term when
I had absolutely no experience, but it set the
agenda for what needed to be done and it was
very, very important for the community because
much good came from that unfortunate incident.
Santos was 12 years old. He had a brother
and they lived in an area we called Little Mexico.
To us it was the Barrio, which is the area immediately
around Pike Park.
Early one morning at about 3:00 there had
been a burglary at a local filling station and the
vending machine that dispensed the Cokes had
been apparently burglarized. And the officer
came, and his partner suspected that perhaps
maybe it might be Santos and his brother, David.
Apparently he knew of them.
And so he went to their home and got them
out of bed. As I recall, the only other person in
the house was their grandfather. And he went in
and took the boys and they took them without
Pedro Aguirre in 1973.
giving them the opportunity to get dressed,
barefooted and without a shirt. And took them
to the station that had been burglarized and
began to interrogate them. And apparently, it is
my understanding that Officer Cane decided to
play Russian roulette to intimidate Santos to
confess. And, unfortunately, the gun was not
empty, and when he pulled the trigger, it discharged,
and he was killed instantly.
I don't remember in the trauma of the incident
exactly how or when or where I was when
I was told. But, as I recall, I immediately made my
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004, periodical, 2004; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35092/m1/27/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.