A school resource officer who fatally shot an 18-year-old mother was charged with murder on Wednesday.
Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez, 18, was in the front passenger seat of a moving car on September 27 when Eddie F. Gonzalez, 51, opened fire at the vehicle, striking Rodriguez in the back of the head.
Rodriguez was declared brain dead at the hospital and taken off life support on October 5, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Rodriguez had been involved in a physical altercation with a 15-year-old girl on the campus of Millikan High School in Long Beach. Gonzalez threatened to pepper spray the two, and Rodriguez got into a car driven by her boyfriend, 20-year-old Rafeul Chowdhury, who is the father of Rodriguez’s 5-month-old son.
Chowdhury said he drove out of the parking lot and Gonzalez opened fire without warning. Chowdhury’s 16-year-old brother was in the back seat of the car.
Long Beach police said that Gonzalez told them that Rodriguez started the altercation with the teen girl and that the other two people in the vehicle were “also involved in the assault.”
The day after Rodriguez died, the Long Beach Unified School District fired Gonzalez, saying that he violated policies and “did not meet our expectations.”
School safety officers in Long Beach are not sworn police officers or employees of the police department, although they do carry guns. School district policy, however, forbids them to fire at a moving vehicle except as a “final means of defense.”
Gonzalez was arrested in Orange, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said, the Press Telegram reported. He has been charged with first-degree murder, but Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón would not say why he faced that charge.
“It’s complex, because there were many witnesses, many videos,” Gascón said. “But the videos only tell a part of the story so we have to go beyond that, that’s the work the Long Beach Police Department did.”
Gonzalez is being held on a $2 million bail, according to jail records.
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