Mother of Woman Slain in Fleeing Car Sues LBUSD, Officer


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Long Beach Unified School District and a former safety officer were sued by the mother of an 18-year-old woman who was shot to death, allegedly by the officer, while she was a passenger in a car fleeing from him in September.

Manuela Sahagun, mother of Mona Rodriguez, brought the complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging wrongful death, excessive force, negligence and civil rights violations. She seeks unspecified compensatory damages against the district and the former officer, Eddie Gonzalez, plus punitive damages against Gonzalez.

An LBUSD spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Rodriguez was a passenger in a car driven by Rafeul Chowdhury about 3 p.m. Sept. 27 in the vicinity of Spring Street and Palo Verde Avenue, near Millikan High School, police said previously.

The car was being driven away from the scene of an altercation when Gonzalez allegedly approached the car and fired into the vehicle as the driver was pulling away, striking Rodriguez inside, authorities said.

Rodriguez was on life support until Oct. 5, when her family's lawyer said her organs were donated, saving the lives of five people. On Oct. 6, the LBUSD announced that Gonzalez, 51, had violated district policies on use of force and had been fired. He was charged in late October with murder and pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Gonzalez did not pass probation when he tried to be hired by the Los Alamitos and Sierra Madre Police Departments, but was still hired by the LBUSD, which compounded matters by negligently training him, the suit alleges.

Sahagun has lost the love, companionship, comfort and affection she obtained from her daughter, the suit states.

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