A former California school safety officer has been charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old woman last month, the prosecutor said Wednesday.
Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez was shot on Sept. 27 when Eddie Gonzalez, then a Long Beach school district safety officer, allegedly fired at a car she was in.
Rodriguez was taken off life support a week later. She was the mother of a 5-month-old boy, her family has said.
“We must hold accountable the people we have placed in positions of trust to protect us,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a written statement.
Gonzalez, 51, is charged with one count of murder. It was not immediately clear Wednesday evening if he had an attorney. He is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, the district attorney’s office said.
Long Beach police have said that Gonzalez was driving a school safety vehicle near Millikan High School that afternoon when he came across a fight between Rodriguez and a 15-year-old girl.
After Rodriguez and a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy who were also involved got into a car, Gonzalez allegedly tried to stop the vehicle and then fired his handgun.
Bystander video appeared to show the safety officer next to the car. As the vehicle turned and sped away, Gonzalez allegedly fired.
Rodriguez was in a passenger seat and was shot, the district attorney’s office said.
Her family has called for criminal charges.
Detectives arrested Gonzalez in Orange on Wednesday, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna said.
Luna said his understanding is that Gonzalez, who was cooperative during his arrest, was “very upset the day that this happened.”
Gonzalez was put on leave by the Long Beach Unified School District and later fired.
The district has said that its policies prohibit firing at someone who is fleeing, or shooting at a moving car, unless it’s a last resort for self-defense.