Mona Rodriguez, the woman who was fatally shot by a Long Beach Unified School District safety officer, donated organs that her family’s lawyer said Wednesday will save the lives of five people.
Meanwhile, the officer who shot her was fired by the school district.
District officials announced during a late-afternoon news conference that Eddie Gonzalez had violated district policies on use of force.
“After our internal review, we clearly saw areas where the employee violated district policy and did not meet our standards and expectations,” LBUSD Superintendent Jill Baker told reporters. “We believe the decision to terminate this officer’s employment is warranted, justified and quite frankly, the right thing to do.
“The use-of-force policy used by our school safety office states officers shall not fire at a fleeing person, shall not fire at a moving vehicle and shall not fire through a vehicle window unless circumstances clearly warrant the use of a firearm as a final means of defense. Again, based on our review, we believe our internal policy was violated.”
Rodriguez, 18, was shot Sept. 27 in the area of Spring Street and Palo Verde Avenue, near Millikan High School in Long Beach.
Long Beach police said they responded to the scene in response to a reported shooting, and officers found Rodriguez inside a car with at least one gunshot wound.
According to police, Gonzalez was driving in the area near Millikan High School 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 Rodriguez inside, police said.
Video of the shooting posted online appeared to show the officer firing at least two shots through a passenger-side window into the car.
Rodriguez, mother of a 5-month-old son, had been on life support since she was taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.
According to family attorney Luis Carrillo, Rodriguez’s heart, lungs, liver and both kidneys were harvested Tuesday at the hospital. Doctors and nurses at the hospital gave Rodriguez a hero’s celebration in the hallways as she was taken to the operating room while her favorite song, “Letter To My Son,” by Skeezy played, Carrillo said in a statement.
Rodriguez stopped breathing at 5:14 p.m. Tuesday after her organs were removed, according to Carrillo.
The Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office have been investigating the shooting.
Rodriguez’s family members and her boyfriend have repeatedly asked for the arrest and prosecution of the safety officer.
A GoFundMe page has been established by the family to assist with funeral costs. The page states that Rodriguez is survived by her mother, four brothers and a sister.
The page, which had raised more than $25,000 as of Wednesday, can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/mh5ttv-help-the-rodriguez-family?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer.