An 18-year-old woman shot earlier this week by a school security officer in Long Beach, California, will be taken off a ventilator after her body is prepared for organ donation, a family spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast.
Mona Rodriguez was shot Monday afternoon while sitting in a car near Millikan High School in Long Beach. Police say she was shot in the upper body. Rodriguez’s family say she was shot in the head.
“The transition has begun,” Jerlene Tatum, a community activist who has been with the Rodriguez family for several days, said in a text message.
At a press conference outside the hospital on Friday afternoon, Iran Rodriguez, Mona’s brother, said his sister would have wanted her organs to go to others in need. Once doctors complete that process, Mona will be taken off the ventilator sometime in the next 24 to 72 hours, her brother said.
Mona, who planned to move to Kansas and start a new life with her boyfriend and 5-month-old son, was “a family-oriented person,” Rodriguez’s niece Maria Ramirez told The Daily Beast, adding that Mona was “always sweet. always wanted to be a part of everything we had.”
“We’ve given them the approval” [to disconnect the machines] this morning,” and the family spent the day saying goodbye, Ramirez said.
The deadly incident happened minutes after 3 p.m. on Sept. 27, when an unidentified officer working for the Long Beach Unified School District saw Rodriguez fight a 15-year-old girl who ran away from Millikan High. Rodriguez, who is not a student there, got out of a gray sedan parked at a nearby mall, according to local reports, to confront the younger girl. The officer is said to have warned the couple that he would pepper spray them if they didn’t break up. Rodriguez got back into the gray car, which then started to drive away, the video of the incident shows. That’s when the officer, who was standing next to the passenger door where Rodriguez sat, is seen in a video of bystanders firing two shots at the moving vehicle.
“While the motive for the attack is still under investigation, detectives believe the suspect and victim know each other, and that the 18-year-old female adult suspect started the attack,” Long Beach police told The Daily Beast in an email. -mail. pronunciation.
Luis Carrillo, a lawyer representing Rodriguez’s family, told The Daily Beast that the officer should be arrested and “has nothing to do with wearing a badge or carrying a gun.” On Thursday, Carrillo sent a letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta demands an investigation into the shooting, which he says meets the legal threshold for murder or manslaughter against the officer.
Authorities have not yet named the officer involved, but a school district spokesperson said they have informed the officer’s union that they plan to release that information soon.
“We’re trying to put pressure on that name to be released,” said Tatum, who attended Millikan High himself.
Others in the area are also alarmed at what they see as opposition from the school district.
“We are very concerned about the lack of transparency,” said local civil rights activist Najee Ali, who said: has appeared at press conferences with the Rodriguez . family, told The Daily Beast. “We believe it is important to identify him to see if he has any previous disciplinary history or complaints against him.”
Ali is optimistic the officer will be charged with a crime, he said.
“The entire country saw this officer shoot an unarmed woman in the back of the head while she was wearing her seat belt, through the rear window of the car,” Ali said.
The Long Beach Unified School District has nine full-time and two part-time security officers on its payroll, and four supervisors above them. They do not work for the Long Beach Police Department, which is considered a separate entity. School security officers in Long Beach are not peacekeepers, but they do receive police academy training—albeit a shortened curriculum of what full-fledged officers receive—and are armed. Monday’s shooting was the first by a Long Beach school security officer since the unit was founded three decades ago.
A retired Long Beach school security officer told the Los Angeles Times that members of the small force are instructed not to interfere in things that happen off campus, and can detain people, but are not authorized to make actual arrests. The retired officer, who asked not to be named, told the Time that the officer involved in Monday’s shooting should never have drawn his weapon.
“What that officer did was completely against protocol,” he said.
The Long Beach chapter of Black Lives Matter on Friday demanded that school personnel, including school security officers, be prohibited from carrying any weapons, including guns, batons, pepper spray, and so on.
at a Workshop Long Beach Board of Education in August 2020Thomas Hickman, chief of school safety and emergency preparedness for the Long Beach Unified School District, said: “There are a few key points that we need to recognize. First, I think the model we have at Long Beach Unified is a model of safety as opposed to enforcement. And I think you’re going to see that happen in more and more school districts. I’ve been approached in the past 60 days by two school districts asking questions about the model we have versus a traditional law enforcement model that many districts still follow.”
The Mona Rodriguez shooting prompted Los Angeles community organizer Cliff Smith to schedule a rally in Long Beach this Sunday, in which he would say the “immediate arrest and prosecutionof the official in question.
“It is clear to us that there was no justification for the lethal use of force, and the security officer committed a crime,” Smith told The Daily Beast. “And not only killed Mona, but also put many other people in danger. The District Attorney, George Gascon, replaced the incumbent prosecutor last year in a campaign specifically aimed at holding police officers accountable for these types of crimes — and he has not yet prosecuted police officers himself.”
Meanwhile, the Rodriguez family is “devastated and distraught,” Ali said.
“This has devastated the whole family because nobody saw this coming,” he said. “Not only did she lose her life at such a young age, she was barely an adult herself, the fact is that her life was unjustly taken by someone who is supposed to protect lives.”