Mona Rodriguez: 18-year-old shot by school safety officer to be taken off life support, family says


An 18-year-old woman left brain dead after being shot by a Long Beach school safety officer will be taken off life support over the coming days, her family said Friday.

Mona Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-month-old boy, will be removed from life support within 72 hours once her organs have been donated, loved ones said in a press conference with their attorney outside Long Beach Memorial Hospital.

Rodriguez was shot Monday near Millikan High School as the car she was riding in drove away. She was riding as a passenger with her child’s father, Rafeul Chowdhury, and Chowdhury’s brother, Shahriear Chowdhury.

Police say the officer was investigating a fight Rodriguez was involved in with a 15-year-old girl near Spring Street and Palo Verde Avenue. The officer opened fire as Rodriguez and the brothers, ages 20 and 16, were leaving in a car.

One of two bullets fired into the car struck Rodriguez in the back of her head, witnesses said.

Rafeul Chowdhury said the officer had warned Rodriguez and the girl he would pepper spray them if they didn’t stop fighting. But he says they did stop, and the officer made no further warnings before opening fire.

“All we did is just got in the car and left,” he said Wednesday. “He never told us to stop anytime soon, and the way he shot us, it wasn’t right.”

The school safety officer was placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation.

But loved ones are calling for the officer involved to be arrested and prosecuted. He has not been publicly identified.

“I just want some justice for my sister, and for my mom too, because she’s suffering a lot,” Rodriguez’s brother, Oscar Rodriguez, said Friday.

The shooting likely violated Long Beach Unified’s use-of-force policy, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing district documents that prohibit shooting into a moving vehicle or at fleeing suspects.

Long Beach Unified Superintendent Jill Baker said the district’s school safety officers are “highly trained and held accountable to the established standards in their profession,” and the officer who shot Rodriguez will be judged against those standards as the shooting is probed.

Rodriguez’s family set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her memorial and other expenses.

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