LONG BEACH (CNS) - An 18-year-old woman who was shot by a Long Beach Unified School District safety officer is brain dead and will be taken off life support this morning, according to family members.
Mona Rodriguez, a mother of a 5-month-old boy, was in the front passenger seat of a car that sped away from an altercation when she was shot shortly after 3 p.m. Monday in the area of Spring Street and Palo Verde Avenue, near Millikan High School.
Long Beach police said they responded to the scene in response to a reported shooting, and officers found the woman with at least one gunshot wound. Police said she had been shot in the upper body, but her family said she was shot in the head.
According to police, an unidentified LBUSD school safety officer was driving in the area 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 vehicle, the school safety officer approached the car and fired into the vehicle as the driver was pulling away, striking her inside.
Video of the shooting posted online appears to show the unidentified officer firing at least two shots at the car.
Millikan High School confirmed in a statement that no students were injured in the shooting.
Investigators determined that Rodriguez initiated the original altercation and that she and the 15-year-old girl knew one another, though the motive for the incident was unknown, police said.
Relatives said Wednesday Rodriguez was brain dead and would not survive, although she remained on life support as the family said its farewells. The family announced Thursday that they would cut off life support sometime Friday morning.
Rafeul Chowdhury, Rodriguez's boyfriend of two years and the father of their son, got emotional outside Long Beach Memorial Care Hospital, saying, “I want justice for my girl, my baby momma, the love of my life.''
Asked what he would say to the public safety officer who shot Rodriguez, Chowdhury said, “I just want him in jail, bro.''
“I want him in jail for what he did to my girlfriend,'' he said. “She did not deserve it. I can't even sleep through the nights. I'm going crazy for myself, you know. I'm used to seeing her 24-7... My girl's not living life no more. I want him to be in jail and face his case for what he did to my girl.''
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia on Thursday said he was praying for the girl's family.
“The city is heartbroken over the horrific and tragic shooting of Mona Rodriguez by a Long Beach School District safety officer,'' Garcia said.
Long Beach police and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office are both investigating the shooting. The school safety officer who fired the shots has been placed on leave.
Rodriguez's family has established a GoFundMe page to assist with funeral arrangements. The page states that Rodriguez is also survived by her mother, four brothers and a sister.
The page had raised more than $14,000 as of early Friday morning, with a goal set to raise $50,000 at: www.gofundme.com/f/mh5ttv-help-the-rodriguez-family?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer.
Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.