Eddie F. Gonzalez, the 51-year-old Long Beach school safety officer who was filmed shooting teenager Mona Rodriguez, has been charged with murder by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. “We must hold accountable the people we have placed in positions of trust to protect us,” Gascón said Wednesday, announcing the charge. “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.”
Rodriguez was shot outside of a Long Beach high school in late September. The 18-year-old was allegedly scuffling with another teen outside of Millikan High School when Gonzalez, who was on traffic duty near the school, attempted to intervene. As the altercation broke up, Rodriguez entered her boyfriend’s gray car in a nearby parking lot.
As seen in cell-phone video, the school safety officer approached the car, which peeled out, cutting close to the officer’s body. Despite a school district use of force policy that prohibits officers from shooting at fleeing suspects, from shooting into moving cars, and from shooting into car windows, Gonzalez fired two shots at the departing vehicle. At least one bullet hit Rodriguez in the back of the head, leaving her brain dead. She died a week later, following the donation of her organs. She left behind a six-month-old son.
The Long Beach school board fired Gonzalez on October 6th. “We clearly saw areas where this employee violated District policy, and did not meet our expectations,” said Superintendent Jill Baker. The next day, Long Beach police announced they were investigating the matter as a homicide.
As Rolling Stone reported, Rodriguez’ family had been seeking murder charges. The family’s lawyer, Luis Carrillo, called the shooting “totally unjustified” and “beyond atrocious” adding of Gonzalez: “He fucked up royally, totally. And he destroyed not only her brain, he destroyed an entire family.”
Carrillo describes the arrest of Gonzalez “the first step on the road to justice,” but adds: “the family still has an enormous amount of pain that Mona’s life was taken at such a young age, and this arrest will not bring Mona back.”
Gonzalez’ arraignment in Los Angeles County Superior Court is expected Friday, according to the DA’s office. He’s being held in a Long Beach jail with bail set at $2 million.
This is a developing story and will be updated.