Cell phone video caught the traumatic moment a teenage mother from California was shot in the back of the head by a school safety officer, leaving her brain dead.
Mona Rodriguez, 18, is not likely to live on, according to her family, who are pleading with the hospital where she is being treated to keep her on life support.
Mona, who has a five-month-old son, was shot as she drove away from the sight near Millikan High School in Long Beach. That afternoon, Mona had gotten into a fight with a 15-year-old girl.
Mona was struck by a bullet while leaving the school in a car with her husband, Rafeul Chowdhury, 20 and his 16-year-old brother. None of the people in the car were students at the school.
Police told that Chowdhury and his younger brother are now being investigated for their supposed involvement in the fight.
Video shows that Chowdhury was driving the vehicle when the officer fire two shots at the car, which nearly hits him as it speeds out of the parking lot.
Long Beach Police are investigating the officer’s use of fatal force. The school safety officer, who has not been named, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Mona’s relatives gathered outside Long Beach Memorial Medical Center for a candlelight vigil after learning that doctors planned to take the gravely injured woman off life support. Alex Cervantes, Mona’s cousin said that she did not deserve to get shot. He said that she might have been doing something she wasn’t supposed to, but she was defenceless.
Luis Carrillo, a family attorney, called on prosecutors to bring charges against the officer who shot Mona. Luis said that this school safety officer should be in jail right now and added that Mona is suffering and so as every family member and friend is suffering.
Speaking outside the school, Chowdhury told reporters that the officer had threatened his girlfriend and the 15-year-old girl she had been fighting with pepper spray. He claimed that the girls stopped fighting, and that the officer did not caution them that he would use his gun before firing. He further said that all they did is just got in the car and left but the officer never told them to stop anytime soon and the way he shot them was not right.
Chowdhury added that he and Mona had been trying to have a child for some time. Now they do have a child but sadly Mona is gone. Chowdhury said that from now onwards, he just got to step up and play the mother and the father role and keep his son strong.
Civil rights activist Najee Ali also spoke outside the school on Wednesday. He said that 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. He added that the fact is the officer shot at someone in the passenger seat with no respect for anyone’s life in the car. He added that the only way to stop these safety officers from shooting defenceless people and killing them is by having them prosecuted and held answerable for what they’ve done wrong to members of the community.
The family have launched up a crowed funding to help cover funeral and legal expenses, and to help support Mona’s son.
Mona is leaving behind her mother, 4 brothers and her sister but most importantly she’s leaving after her 5 month old baby boy, Isael.
Yessica Loza, Mona’s cousin said that Mona was smart, beautiful, loving and anyone who knew her knew how big her heart was, how full of life she was and how much she loved her family but most especially her son who was her entire life, pride and joy.
Yessica further said that they are all heart broken and in pain. Never did they imagine that they would lose Mona like this or so soon. She had her entire life ahead of her and because of an uncaring action done by a school safety officer, a 5 month old baby boy was left without a mother.