Murder charges were filed against a former school safety officer who shot an 18-year-old mother in Southern California last month, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday.
The officer, Eddie F. Gonzalez, was fired from his position one day after shooting Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez on Sept. 27. A bullet fired by Gonzalez hit Rodriguez “in the upper body” as she and two friends drove away from an off-campus parking lot near Millikan High School, according to the Long Beach Police Department. Gonzalez, who was driving nearby, stopped after witnessing a fight between Rodriguez and a 15-year-old girl, according to police.
Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-month-old boy, was taken off life support and died Oct. 5. Oscar Rodriguez, the brother of Mona, spoke after the charges were announced. “My sister was amazing. She was a person to help me out in my times of trouble as a young child,” he said. “She was there for me, and now that she’s gone I don’t know how to heal. This type of criminal action should not be allowed in our state, in our country.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the charge of one count of murder during a news conference in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon.
“We must hold accountable the people we have placed in positions of trust to protect us,” Gascón said. “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 [USA TODAY].