'He saved their lives': Austin mourns teen who died protecting family

Julio Cesar Guadalupe Rodriguez was killed in a domestic dispute.
Publish date:

A Minnesota teen is being recognized for the heroic actions that ultimately cost him his life during a domestic dispute.

Austin resident Julio Cesar Guadalupe Rodriguez, 15, died on Tuesday after what local police chief David McKichan calls "one of the most challenging and tragic calls" in the city's history.

Rodriguez was stabbed to death while intervening in an attack on his 35-year-old mother, who was also seriously wounded in the incident, according to a Star Tribune report

The defendant in the case, 27-year-old Jaime A. Vaca, is the husband of the boy's mother; he was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault this past week in Mower County District Court. 

In a public Facebook message about the incident, Chief McKichan said that there were five other children in the home when the stabbing took place:

McKichan also praised the fallen teen for his sacrifice, noting the toll it took on all the first responders to see him succumb to his injuries:

Despite everyone’s best efforts we were unable to save the young man who acted the most heroically of anyone yesterday. All of us wanted a different outcome for him. What he did in the defense of his family was incredible and should be recognized. His love for his mother and his siblings was proven without a doubt and all who responded and have knowledge of the investigation were moved by his actions. He saved their lives. 

"I hope in time and with the family involved," McKichan added, "that we can recognize him for what he did." 

Relatives have set up a Facebook fundraiser to help the family cover funeral expenses; you can view it right here. It has already exceeded its fundraising goal of $8,000.

A public visitation for Rodriguez will be held Monday, while his funeral will be private.

Next Up

Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren named Minnesota's Mr. Basketball

Minnehaha Academy produces back-to-back award winners for the second time in state history.

Byron Buxton

Red Sox out-slug Twins in chilly matinee

Bobby Dalbec hit two RBI doubles to hand the Twins their third straight loss.

Governor Tim Walz

As CDC urges Michigan to shut down, Gov. Walz watches closely

Walz says there are no imminent plans to dial back.


Man, 26, collapses and dies at event center shortly after altercation

The incident was reported Saturday night in Stearns County.

Allina Crossroads Campus

Allina Health will reopen Buffalo clinic after fatal mass shooting

A timeline about when the clinic will reopen hasn't been released.


Walz: No state-issued curfew Tuesday night

Local municipalities can declare their own curfews.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota advises health providers pause Johnson & Johnson vaccines

Federal health officials have recommended the pause to review treatment of an extremely rare blot clot.

Target Field Twins

Twins will play Tuesday; doubleheader set for Wednesday

Fans at Wednesday's first game can stay for the second game for free.


St. Paul's Karen community mourns after beloved member is stabbed to death

Paw Boh Htoo was reportedly trying to help her neighbor escape domestic abuse.

police tape

Assault in southern Minnesota leaves 1 dead, 1 hospitalized

Identities of the victims have not been released.

Ashli K. Johnson

Family seeks help after mother of 4 gunned down in St. Paul

Ashli K. Johnson's death is still under investigation.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 8.08.05 PM

St. Paul teen charged with killing his uncle after fight in alleyway

The 16-year-old is facing one count of second-degree murder.

Charges: Blaine man shoots dead the wife who was divorcing him

The 46-year-old man called police saying he killed his wife.