The shooting of an 18-year-old woman in the passenger seat of a car by a Long Beach school safety officer is being investigated as a homicide, police said Thursday.
The announcement came a day after Mona Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-month-old boy, was taken off life support at a Long Beach hospital where she had been since the Sept. 27 shooting in a parking lot near Millikan High School.
The Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office have been investigating the shooting, which was captured on camera. In a statement Thursday morning, the police department said the results of its criminal investigation will be shared for review with the prosecutor’s office.
The school safety officer who fired the shots, Eddie Gonzalez, was fired Wednesday, according to the district.
The brothers of 18-year-old Mona Rodriguez, who was shot in the head by a Long Beach Unified School District safety officer, joined the family’s attorneys in calling on Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor to file a criminal case against the officer.
The Long Beach Unified School District said the officer’s conduct violated district policy, and his termination was the “right thing to do.” The district also sent condolences to the family of Mona Rodriguez.
The district went on to say the use of force policy dictates that an officer will not fire on a fleeing person, nor fire into a vehicle, and that using a weapon should be a last line of defense.
Long Beach police said they responded to the scene in response to a reported shooting, and officers found Rodriguez inside a car with at least one gunshot wound.
Relatives said she was shot in the head. In a statement Thursday, Long Beach police said she was shot in the upper body.
According to police, the school safety officer was driving in the area near Millikan High School when he observed Rodriguez involved in an altercation with a 15-year-old girl in the street. Investigators determined that a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy were also involved in the dispute.
When Rodriguez, the man and the boy attempted to leave the scene in a car, the school safety officer approached the car and fired into the vehicle as the driver was pulling away, striking Rodriguez inside, police said.
Video of the shooting posted online appeared to show the officer, whose name was not released by police, firing at least two shots through a passenger-side window into the car.