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Teen Mother On Life Support After She Was Shot By A California School Safety Officer
“I want justice for my girl, my baby momma, the love of my life,” Mona Rodriguez’ boyfriend at a press conference Wednesday. “She did not deserve it. I can't even sleep through the nights. I'm going crazy for myself, you know.”
An 18-year-old California mother is on life support after she was shot by a school safety officer—and her loved ones are pleading for justice.
“I want justice for my girl, my baby momma, the love of my life,” Mona Rodriguez’ boyfriend Rafeul Chowdhury said at a press conference Wednesday, according to local station KNBC. “She did not deserve it. I can't even sleep through the nights. I'm going crazy for myself, you know.”
Rodriguez was shot at approximately 3:12 p.m. Monday afternoon by a Long Beach Unified School District school safety officer after Rodriguez had allegedly tried to flee the scene of a fight, according to a statement from police obtained by Oxygen.com.
Police said an unidentified safety officer had been driving when he saw Rodriguez and a 15-year-old female in a “physical altercation” in the street.
Investigators are still trying to determine the motive for the fight, but said they believe the altercation was started by Rodriguez, who allegedly knew the younger teen.
Police said Rodriguez—and a 16-year-old male and 20-year-old male—tried to flee the scene in a four-door grey sedan.
The school safety officer “approached the vehicle” and opened fire as it began to speed by him, striking Rodriguez in the passenger seat.
“The school safety officer approached a group of individuals to investigate an altercation, and during the course of that investigation, the school safety officer discharged their duty weapon and an individual was struck by gunfire,” the school district said in a statement following the shooting.
Video of the incident posted by The Long Beach Post News showed the officer walking up to the side of the car and then opening fire as it began to speed off as someone nearby says “Holy sh—!”
Rodriguez, who is the mother of a 5-month-old baby, was taken to a local hospital, where she remains on life support, however, her family has said doctors have told the family the 18-year-old is brain dead and will not survive.
Her brother, Oscar, told The Long Beach Post News the family is opposed to removing the life support and said he feels like the hospital is “trying to take my sister away.”
“Honestly I don’t feel that that’s right because if a government official is the one that shot my sister then the government should not be the one that’s deciding whether they should pull the plug or not,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Police said the investigation into the incident is “ongoing” but Rodriguez’ family has called for the school safety officer involved in the shooting to be charged.
In a letter to California’s Attorney General, obtained by Oxygen.com, Luis Carrillo, an attorney representing Rodriguez’ family, called the school safety officer’s actions “reckless.”
“This Officer had no justification to use deadly force against Ms. Rodriguez because Ms. Rodriguez did not pose an imminent threat to the officer when she was shot by the officer,” the letter states.
It goes on to argue that the officer’s “unjustified use of deadly force” meets the necessary standards for “murder or for manslaughter” if Ramirez dies.
“The first priority is to get the guy arrested and off the street,” Carrillo told The Daily Beast. “He doesn't have any business carrying a badge or wearing a gun.”
The letter also identifies the two males who had been in the car as Chowdhury and his brother.
The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on leave. Long Beach school safety officers are not accredited police officers like a regular police officer and are tasked with patrolling school sites and providing protection for students, according to The Daily Beast.
Rodriquez was described by friend Ashley Sanchez as someone with a “very happy soul” who was also goofy and kind, the local paper reports.
She had reportedly been planning to move to Kansas with her boyfriend and young son to give the child a better life.