Relatives of an 18-year-old woman who was shot in the head by a Long Beach Unified School District safety officer called again Friday for the officer’s arrest and prosecution, and said the woman’s organs will be harvested and donated before she is taken off life support in the coming days.
“I don’t wish death on the person who killed my sister. All I want is for him to see what justice feels like,” Oscar Rodriguez, the brother of Mona Rodriguez, told reporters outside Long Beach Memorial Medical Center Friday.
The family said Thursday that Mona Rodriguez would be taken off life support Friday, but Oscar Rodriguez said her organs will be donated, and she will be taken off life support in the next one to three days. She has already been declared brain dead.
The family held a candlelight vigil outside the hospital Thursday night.
Mona Rodriguez, mother of a 5-month-old boy, was in the front passenger seat of a car that was being driven 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.
According to police, an 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 officer, whose name has not been released, 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.
Rafeul Chowdhury, Rodriguez’s boyfriend of two years and the father of the 5-month-old boy, got emotional outside Long Beach Memorial Care Hospital Wednesday, 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 $15,000 as of early Friday afternoon, 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.
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