Long Beach School Safety Officer Charged with Murder After Teen Passenger of Car Was Shot

Manuela "Mona" Rodriguez, 18, was left brain dead after she was shot in the back of the head

Mona Rodriguez
Manuela "Mona" Rodriguez. Photo: GoFundMe

A Long Beach school safety officer has been charged with murder after a teenager was fatally shot in the head.

Eddie Gonzalez, 51, was patrolling an area near Millikan High School on Sept. 27 when he "noticed an altercation between 18-year-old Manuela Rodriguez and a teenage girl," according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday.

Rodriguez got into the rear passenger seat of a nearby car, prompting Gonzalez to allegedly fire his handgun at the vehicle, the D.A.'s office states in the release obtained by PEOPLE.

The bullet struck Rodriguez in the back of the head, leaving her brain dead. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was taken off life support a week later.

Her family said five lives were saved because Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-month-old son, was an organ donor, according to a GoFundMe campaign launched by her family.

A prior police statement indicates that a 20-year-old male adult and a 16-year-old male juvenile were also in the car at the time.

"We must hold accountable the people we have placed in positions of trust to protect us," District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement on Wednesday. "That is especially true for the armed personnel we traditionally have relied upon to guard our children on their way to and from and at school."

Initially, Gonzalez was placed on administrative leave. He was later fired as the result of a vote held during a closed school board meeting, the Los Angeles Times, Mercury News and San Bernardino Sun report.

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In a statement, Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Jill Baker said the decision to terminate Gonzalez was "frankly the right thing to do," as he apparently violated district policies.

Baker's statement expressed "our deep sadness about this incident," and extends "our sincerest condolences to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible event, especially Manuela Rodriguez's family and friends."

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