Las Vegas: Murdered teen was turning life around through boxing at City Boxing Club
LAS VEGAS -- At City Boxing Club, the news of Aaron Rodriguez's death has hit hard.
"It ruined me for days," Keegan Cirillo said.
Aaron worked out at city boxing club with the troubled youth program. When Aaron was younger he got in trouble for fighting.
"Aaron was excited about boxing and being a boxer," Sean Doak said. Doak was Aaron's probation officer. "The idea was to keep him busy and off the streets, and it was working. Aaron was turning his life around."
Fighting got Aaron in trouble, and through City Boxing club was helping him turn his life around.
"He was going to be a professional boxer. He was that good," Keegan Cirillo said. "In 5 years he was going to be a top prospect. You know you see those specials about fighters that come from nothing, and then are monsters? That was him."
The boxing for troubled youth program was created by Armin Van Dam. Van Dam believes all kids can be saved, so he works with the county and juvenile system to get the most troubled kids into his gym. He charges them nothing, but they have to stay in line. Van Dam ends up covering a lot of costs, but he says it's worth it to see kids like Aaron succeed.
"If Aaron can turn his life around anyone can turn his life around," Van Dam said. "You know what he would say? "I just want to make it up to my mom"."
Keegan Cirillo went through the youth boxing program, he know helps mentor troubled youth at City Boxing club. Cirillo adored Aaron.
"I just saw something in this kid. If I had a son, I would want him to have the type of heart and courage Aaron had," Cirillo said.
Aaron celebrated his 18th birthday, then two days later was gunned down. For the people at City Boxing Club, Aaron's story feel's unfinished.
"There is going to be something and it's going to be massive and it's going to help kids and it's going to be all because of him," Cirilo said.
For Van Dam, the hardest part is that Aaron was going to be a success story, someone he helped save. He says he won't let Aaron die in vein and will continue fighting for other teens just like him.
"Aaron in my mind was a success story. This will never end. We don't need to lose another kid. I will keep fighting, for Aaron."
Saturday, November 17th the City Boxing Club is holding an event for Aaron's family. Professional boxers like Jessie Vargas will be there to raise money. It'll be at 3401 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive , the event starts at 1:00 P.M.