An 18-year-old student who was shot in the head by a school safety officer is brain dead and is not expected to survive, the woman’s family has confirmed.
Mona Rodriguez, a mother of a five-month-old son, is on life support in the hospital after she was struck by a bullet in the back of the head while she was in a car driving away from Millikan High School in Long Beach, California.
Rodriguez had been in a fight with a 15-year-old girl by the school on Monday afternoon. She then hopped into a car with her brother and the father of her child, Rafeul Chowdhury.
She was then shot leaving the scene. The 20-year-old father and a 16-year old brother are being investigated for their involvement in the incident, police told KTLA.
Cellphone video obtained by the outlet shows the officer fire two shots at the car as it nearly hits him speeding away from a parking lot.
Rodriguez’s family demanded justice Wednesday outside of the school where Chowdhury told reporters the couple had been trying to have a child for some time, according to KTLA.
“And now we do, and now she’s gone,” he heartbreakingly said. “I just got to step up now and play the mother and the father role, and keep my son strong.”
Chowhurdy said that the officer had threatened the two girls fighting with pepper spray. The girls stopped, he claimed, and the officer never threatened to use the weapon before firing.
“All we did is just got in the car and left,” Chowhurdy told the outlet. “He never told us to stop anytime soon, and the way he shot us, it wasn’t right.”
The school safety officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation, KTLA reports.
Jill Baker, Superintendent of Long Beach Public Schools told the outlet that the district’s safety officers are “highly trained and held accountable to the established standards in their profession,” and the officer involved will be judged accordingly.
“There’s no excuse, no justification for this officer shooting in the rear passenger-side window of a car with a woman who’s unarmed. Everyone in the car was unarmed,” Ali said outside the school. “And the fact is, he shot at someone in the passenger seat with no regard for anyone’s life in the car.”
“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,” Ali said.
Long Beach Police are continuing to investigate the use of lethal force in the incident.