Things That Matter

18-Year-Old Teen Mom Mona Rodriguez Is Left Brain Dead After Being Shot By a School Safety Officer

Photo via GoFundMe

On Monday, a tragic shooting in Long Beach, California left 18-year-old teen mother Mona Rodriguez brain dead. Doctors do not expect her to recover. What makes Rodriguez’s case so shocking, however, is that her shooter was a school safety officer.

After getting in a fight with a 15-year-old female student, Rodriguez was shot in the back of the head by a school safety officer while attempting to flee the scene.

According to eye witnesses and video evidence, Rodriguez came to Millikan High School in Long Beach and initiated a fight with a 15-year-old girl. When Rodriguez, her boyfriend, and his brother attempted to speed away in their car, the as-of-yet-unnamed school safety officer open-fired into the back of the car, striking Rodriguez in the head. Everyone in the car was unarmed.

Police were called to the scene and found Rodriguez critically injured. Paramedics transported Rodriguez to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center where she was placed on life support. Doctors told her family that she was “brain dead” and unlikely to survive.

Rodriguez’s family is devastated, as the young woman not only left a grieving family behind, but a five-month-old son.

“‘We are all heart broken and in pain never did we imagine we would loose[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.’ Cousin Yessica Loza wrote on GoFundMe page.

The Long Beach community is demanding to know why a school safety officer would use deadly force on a group of unarmed teenagers who were posing no threat to him. According to the other car passengers, the officer didn’t even call out a warning before shooting. “All we did is just got in the car and left,” Rodriguez’s boyfriend and the father of her child, Rafeul Chowdhury, told KTLA. “He never told us to stop anytime soon, and the way he shot us, it wasn’t right.”

The tragic ordeal is making many people question the merits of having school safety officers carrying fire arms–especially if they are quick to use them on unarmed teens.

“The only way we stop these safety officers from shooting unarmed people and killing them is by having them prosecuted and held accountable for what they’ve done wrong to members of the community,” Civil rights activist Najee Ali told KTLA.

The school district has released a statement saying they are “collectively holding the shooting victim in our thoughts.”

“Our school safety officers are hired to protect the physical safety of our staff and students on and around campuses,” superintendent Jill Baker added in her statement. “They are highly trained and held accountable to the established standards in their profession. Those standards will be used to assess the incident that occurred yesterday.”

As of now, the unnamed safety officer is on paid leave, pending an investigation. And meanwhile, Rodriguez’s family is facing the reality of having to take the 18-year-old mother, daughter, and girlfriend off life support.

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