Recorded on video fatally shooting an 18-year-old woman in the head, a former California school officer was recently charged with one count of murder.
On September 27, Long Beach Unified School safety officer Eddie Gonzalez was patrolling an area near Millikan High School when he noticed an altercation between 18-year-old Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez and a 15-year-old girl. Recorded on a cellphone video, Officer Gonzalez appeared to break up the fight between the teenage females.
Later in the video, Gonzalez approached a car occupied by Rodriguez, her boyfriend named Rafeul Chowdhury, and Chowdhury’s 16-year-old brother. As Chowdhury began to drive away, Gonzalez fired two shots into the fleeing car, striking Rodriguez in the head.
Declared brain dead after the shooting, Rodriguez was taken off life support and passed away on October 5. She left behind a 6-month-old son.
Approximately a week after the shooting, the Long Beach Unified School District terminated Gonzalez for violating the school district’s policies. Due to the fact that Gonzalez’s life never appeared to be in danger, he was not permitted to fire his gun at the fleeing vehicle and kill a passenger.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced that Gonzalez has been charged with one count of murder for fatally shooting Rodriguez.
“It’s an unfortunate, unnecessary death that left a 6-month-old without a mother, a family without a daughter, and clearly a tremendous loss to our entire community,” District Attorney Gascón told reporters on Wednesday.
“We must hold accountable the people we have placed in positions of trust to protect us,” Gascón later added in a press release. “That is especially true for the armed personnel we traditionally have relied upon to guard our children on their way to and from and at school.”
“I don’t understand how it’s okay for an officer, or a cop or a school safety to shoot while there [were] little kids there as well,” said Rodriguez’s oldest brother, Iran Rodriguez, during a news conference on Wednesday. “What if that bullet could’ve hit them?”
Iran Rodriguez added, “My sister was a part of me, and he took that part of me.”