The school safety officer who shot 18-year-old Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez while she was pulling away in a car had only been on the job for months.
Eddie F. Gonzalez, who shot Rodriguez after she’d been involved in a fight and was attempting to leave, was hired as a school safety officer for the Long Beach Unified School District in California on Jan. 10, Chris Eftychiou, a spokesman for the school district, told The Daily Beast.
Eftychiou said the officer had no disciplinary issues or complaints filed against him during his eight months with the school district.
Gonzalez has been placed on paid leave pending the investigation into the shooting, which Eftychiou said is standard protocol. His name was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.
The Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney are investigating the shooting on Monday which left Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-month-old son, brain dead according to her family and their attorney.
They say Rodriguez will be taken off of life support within the next couple days, after her body is prepared for organ donation.
In a recent press conference, they also took aim at Gonzalez.
“You can see what is wrong in this video,” Oscar Rodriguez said, Univision reported. “The officer didn’t do his job.”
Rodriguez’s other brother, Iran Rodriguez, said that what his sister always wanted to do was to “help others, others like her who are suffering,” and that she always wanted to donate her organs. Rodriguez said she would be disconnected from life support within 72 hours.
A protest for Mona is planned for Sunday that intends to call for the arrest and prosecution of Gonzalez, organizer Cliff Smith told The Daily Beast. Meanwhile the local Black Lives Matter chapter demanded that school safety officers be banned from carrying weapons as a result of the shooting.
An ex-Long Beach school safety officer told the Los Angeles Times that Gonzalez’s actions were “completely out of line of the protocol.” The retired officer said members of the small force are normally told not to get involved with things away from campus.
The outlet reported that the school safety office’s use of force policy says officers are not allowed to shoot at moving cars, they’re also not allowed to shoot at suspects on the run. Use-of-force experts consulted by the Los Angeles Times said they believed the shooting to be unjustified.
The shooting took place at 3 p.m. close to Millikan High School but not on school grounds.
According to authorities and eyewitness accounts, Gonzalez attempted to break up a fight involving Rodriguez and another girl. When the fight was over and Rodriguez attempted to leave in a sedan, Gonzalez approached the passenger side, according to a bystander’s video. As the car pulled away, Gonzalez fires two shots, striking Rodriguez.
She was transferred to a local hospital and quickly placed on life support, The Daily Beast reported.
The Long Beach Police Department directed questions about Gonzalez to the school district, saying that he was not part of their agency.
Attempts to reach Gonzalez were unsuccessful.