Volume 76, Number 1 | June 6 - 12, 2007

Local pol’s relative killed in Iraq by roadside bomb

By Lincoln Anderson

City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, felt the ongoing conflict hit home with devastating impact last month when she learned that her first cousin once removed had been killed.

Army Specialist Alexander Rosa, Jr., 22, whose mother is Mendez’s first cousin, was fatally injured on Fri., May 25. He was in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad, when a roadside bomb — an improvised explosive device — detonated near his vehicle, according to a news release.

Rosa was assigned to the 89th Military Police Brigade of Fort Hood, Texas, a unit that taught law-enforcement skills to Iraqi police. He most recently was living in Orlando, Fla., but was born and raised in Brooklyn.

According to an article on Rosa in the Orlando Sentinel, Muqdadiyah is in eastern Diyala, a stronghold for Sunni insurgents that has seen increased violence since the start of a crackdown in Baghdad 3 months ago. The U.S. military recently deployed an additional 3,000 troops to the province.

Mendez spoke to The Villager on Mon., June 4, after attending Rosa’s funeral in Brooklyn that morning.

“His father was 22 when he was gunned down in the street — a random act of violence,” she said of Rosa. “He was not even 2 years old. He leaves a 2-month-old son. I just think it’s really unfair for my cousin — she lost her husband at such a young age and now she loses her son. He leaves a little baby who will never know him when he grows up.”

Mendez said Rosa was doing his third tour in Iraq. She said at the funeral military officials presented a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal to Rosa’s family members.

“The family may take comfort in it, but I don’t,” Mendez said of the medals. “The only comfort I would find, maybe, is if they said Alex was going to be the last — and all the young men and women were coming home.”

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