Fired School Safety Officer Faces Murder Charge

A school safety officer in Long Beach, Calif., who was fired last month after fatally shooting an 18-year-old mother has been charged with murder, said the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office on Wednesday.

Former school safety officer Eddie F. Gonzalez was fired a day after the incident that left Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez braindead. The Long Beach Police Department determined Gonzalez fired a bullet that struck Rodriguez’s upper body as she and two friends were driving away from an off-campus parking lot. Gonzalez had stopped after witnessing a fight in the parking lot between Rodriguez and another teenager. Rodriguez was taken off life support and passed away on Oct. 5.

During a news conference on Wednesday, Oct. 27, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced a charge of one count of murder.

“We must hold accountable the people we have placed in positions of trust to protect us,” he 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.”

During his termination, the district determined that Gonzalez had violated policy preventing officers from firing at a fleeing person, a moving vehicle or through a window unless the action is justified as a “final means of defense,” according to news sources.

“This is the beginning of justice for Mona, her mother and the entire Rodriguez family,” said Luis Carillo, a lawyer representing the Rodriguez family, in a statement. “But it took too long to arrest the man who unjustly killed Mona Rodriguez.”

The district attorney’s office said that Gonzalez’s arraignment is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 29.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning and Campus Security and Life Safety. He can be reached at MJones@1105media.com

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