The fatal shooting of a California teen mom by a school safety resource officer is now being investigated as a homicide, police announced Thursday.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 18-year-old Mona Rodriguez was involved in a fight last month near Millikan High School, off of Spring Street and Palo Verde Avenue in Long Beach. She got into a physical altercation with a 15-year-old girl and fled the scene afterward in a vehicle, according to Long Beach police.
Police said a 20-year-old male and a 16-year-old teen were also inside the vehicle. Rodriquez was riding in the passenger seat.
Rafeul Chowdhury, identified as the father of Mona’s 5-month-old son’s father, was one of the passengers in the car. He told KTLA 2 that Long Beach Unified School District safety Officer Eddie F. Gonzalez initially tried to break up the fight by threatening to spray Rodriquez and the 15-year-old.
Chowdhury said they left the scene in a car but the officer opened fire without warning. A bullet hit Rodriquez in the back of her head, leaving her brain dead. On Tuesday, she was taken off of life support.
“In light of this news, detectives are now investigating this matter as a homicide,” the Long Beach Police Department said.
According to Long Beach police, Gonzalez said Mona started the altercation with the 15-year-old. When Gonzalez tried to intervene, Mona got into the car with two others who were “also involved in the assault,” police said.
A day after Mona’s death, Gonzalez was fired from his job by the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education. Superintendent Jill A. Baker acknowledged that safety officers are not considered police officers, but they do carry guns.
Baker added that Gonzalez violated policies and “did not meet our expectations.”
“I want to start by expressing our deep sadness about this incident,” Baker said. “We send our sincerest condolences to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible event, especially Manuela Rodriguez’s family and friends.”
So far, Gonzalez has not been charged in the case.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been set up by Rodriguez’s family to help raise money for funeral expenses.
“Mona is leaving behind her mom, 4 brothers, and her sister but most importantly she’s leaving behind her 5 month old baby boy Isael,” the page reads. “If you are reading this please help me help her family during this time of need.”
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[Featured Photo: GoFundMe]