[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
This family won’t give up until justice is served.
Last week, we reported on a devastating shooting in which a school safety officer left a student brain dead after firing into the passenger side of a moving vehicle. Now, the family of the 18-year-old woman, who had a 5-month-old son, is fighting to get the officer arrested.
In case you didn’t hear, Mona Rodriguez had allegedly gotten into an altercation with a 15-year-old girl near Millikan High School in Long Beach, California. An unidentified authority figure broke up the fight after warning them he’d use pepper spray if they didn’t stop. Following the fight, Mona got into a car with her boyfriend and the father of her child, Rafeul Chowdhury, 20, and his 16-year-old brother. Things seemed fine until the officer approached the passenger side of the car, where Mona was seated. In the viral video (below), the car is seen suddenly driving off, resulting in the officer opening fire at the moving vehicle. Chowdhury says that they were leaving, but insisted the officer never asked them to stop before shooting.
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According to the Long Beach Police Department, police arrived at the scene following a reported shooting. They found Mona suffering from a gunshot wound and took her to the hospital where she was confirmed to be brain dead. Neither of the other passengers were injured. Last week, the family was told Mona would have to come off life support within days, leaving them just enough time to say their final goodbyes. So, so sad.
Currently, little information into the teenager’s fight has been made public, but while speaking to the press, Mona’s friends revealed that she was being harassed in the days before she was shot. They also insisted the “beautiful soul” was unarmed at the time of her death. That only makes us wonder why the officer — whose job is literally to protect the students — felt like he had to shoot into a moving vehicle, potentially injuring anyone, if the student didn’t seem to pose an immediate threat to the community?
Questions like this have haunted the teen’s family in the wake of her death. On Sunday, family, friends, and activists gathered to protest this officer’s actions, calling for his immediate arrest. Mona’s friend Valerie Garcia passionately told the press:
“There’s two sides to every story. Please believe that. It was wrong for her to be at that fight, but it is totally unacceptable with God, Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior, that she was murdered the way she was murdered.”
It remains unclear if Mona has been taken off of life support at this time. On Friday, it was reported that she would be taken off the life-preserving machines within 24 to 72 hours. Over the weekend, her family shared that her organs will be donated. A GoFundMe page set up to support the family in this trying time has also been taken down.
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During a news conference on Friday, her brother Oscar Rodriguez noted:
“What happened to my sister wasn’t right. I just want justice for my sister. She didn’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this. I haven’t been able to sleep. I haven’t been able to eat. All we want is peace. Nobody should ever have to go through this.”
As of now, no charges have been made in the case. The Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office are currently investigating, and it will be up to the D.A.’s office to decide if the officer will face consequences for his actions.
This whole case just proves that there continues to be a severe problem with gun control in our country, especially when it comes to schools. Something like this should never have happened at the hands of a school safety officer — especially when the fight was supposedly already over. Sending love to the Rodriguez family as they fight for justice.
[Image via GoFundMe]