In a tragic series of events an 18-year-old Latina mom was shot and subsequently died after over a week on life support following an altercation at a school in Long Beach, California. The school safety officer, Eddie F. Gonzalez who shot Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez following a physical altercation at Millikan High School has been fired. The incident occurred on September 27 after a fight between Rodriguez and a 15-year-old girl, according to the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD). As Rodriguez and two others attempted to flee the scene in a car, the school safety officer fired a shot at Rodriguez, who was sitting in the passenger seat and was hit in the head, police said. After spending more than a week on life support, she died Wednesday and her organs were donated, family attorney Luis Carillo told CNN. Her family said in a statement that Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-month-old baby, saved the lives of five people through organ donation.
“All we did is just got in the car and left,” Rafeul Chowdhury, the father of her child, said last Wednesday. “He never told us to stop anytime soon, and the way he shot us, it wasn’t right.” He, alongside his 16-year-old brother, were in the car with Rodriguez.
The LBUSD’s Use of Force Policy dictates that officers “shall not fire at a fleeing person, shall not fire at a moving vehicle, and shall not fire through a vehicle window unless circumstances clearly warrant the use of a firearm as a final means of defense,” according to a press release.
“I just want justice for my sister,” her brother Oscar Rodriguez said last Friday at a news conference outside Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. “No family should ever have to go through this.”
The family was taking her off life support today and said her body parts are being dontated to science, her brother Oscar Rodriguez said.
— Kelly Puente (@KellyPuenteLB) October 1, 2021
Following the shooting many called for his arrest including the Black Lives Matter movement, who released a letter demanding the school district disarm its safety officers. A GoFundMe was set up to help with medical costs and to support her family and has raised more than $30,000 toward a $50,000 goal. About 60 protestors gathered outside Long Beach Unified School District on Oct. 6 calling for justice for Rodriguez and the other people of color killed by officers.
“She might have been doing something she wasn’t supposed to, but she was unarmed and already fleeing. There was no reason for that cop to fire,” said Rodriguez’s cousin, Alex Villasenor.
About 60 protestors are outside Long Beach Unified School District calling for justice for Mona Rodriguez, 18, who was shot and killed by a school safety officer last week near Millikan High. @LongBeachPost pic.twitter.com/AFhAXc31G7
— Kelly Puente (@KellyPuenteLB) October 6, 2021
“We’re here today because we want justice for my sister. We want the killer to go to jail. We want a prosecution to occur,” her oldest brother, Iran Rodriguez, told reporters outside District Attorney George Gascon’s downtown Los Angeles office on Oct. 6. “And we want my sister to rest in peace knowing that her killer is behind bars.”
On Oct. 7 the LBPD released a statement saying that following her death they’re investigating the case as a homicide.