In a bizarre twist to the school shooting narrative, a safety officer gunned down a teenager who ultimately died from her wounds. The officer involved was fired, and the incident is now being investigated as a homicide case.
On September 27th, 18-year-old Mona Rodriguez was shot in the head by Eddie Gonzalez, who worked as a school safety officer for the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) at the time. Rodriguez had been involved in a fight with a 15-year-old girl in a parking lot near Millikan High School in Long Beach, California. Around 3 p.m., the fight ended and Rodriguez got into the front passenger seat of a car driven by her boyfriend.
According to footage captured by bystanders, Gonzalez opened fire on the car at short range as it drove away. This resulted in his shooting Rodriguez in the head. She was hospitalized and brain dead for eight days before her family made the decision to take her off life support. Her organs were donated to help save the lives of five others.
Rodriguez’s cousin-in-law, Yessica Loza, created a GoFundMe page the day after the shooting. Proceeds were earmarked to help with medical expenses and to care for Rodriguez’s five-month-old son.
“She was smart, beautiful, loving and anyone who knew her knew how big her heart was, how full of life she was and how much she loved her family but most especially her son who was her entire life, pride and joy,” Loza wrote on the GoFundMe post.
“We are all trying to be there to support her family during this hard time. We are all heartbroken and in pain never did we imagine we would lose (sic) her like this or so soon she had her entire life ahead of her and because of a careless act done by a school safety guard a 5 month old baby boy was left without a mother and we all lost someone we loved so much,” continued Loza’s post. “Mona I promise you we won’t (sic) let your son forget you. Every day we will remind him of you and tell him how much you loved him and how he meant the world to you.”
Rodriguez was not a student at Millikan, the school closest to the scene of the shooting. She had previously been enrolled at another school in LBUSD. Gonzalez had been employed as a school safety officer at LBUSD for less than a year. Before that, he served as a police officer in Los Alamitos and Sierra Madre, working a few months at each location in Southern California.
School safety officers are armed with guns and work closely with local police departments, but they are not full-fledged peace officers like cops.