Long Beach, CA — The family of Mona Rodriguez is grieving today after their 18-year-old daughter was shot in the head by a Long Beach Unified School District police officer. Rodriguez, who was unarmed and presenting no threat to the cop who shot her, is currently on life support, brain-dead and is not expected to survive.
On Wednesday, dozens of family members gathered outside Long Beach Memorial Medical Center with candles and called for justice as the begged the hospital not to take Rodriguez off life support. Oscar Rodriguez told the Long Beach post the hospital intended to take his sister off life support in 24 hours. “They’re trying to take my sister away,” he said.
“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,” Oscar said. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Despite the doctors telling the family that she is brain-dead and will not survive, the family held out hope that she would pull through. Rodriquez leaves behind a 5-month-old son.
“I just want justice for my girl, my baby mama, my love of my life that I can’t get back ever again,” her boyfriend and father of their child, Rafeul Chowdhury said tearfully. “I don’t know what to do with my 5-month-old son.”
The incident unfolded on Tuesday out front of Millikan High School in Long Beach. Though Rodriguez was not a student at the school, she was allegedly involved in a fight with another teen outside the campus.
When the unidentified officer showed up, Rodriguez got in her boyfriend's car to flee at which point the officer resorted to deadly force. A student captured the officer on video needlessly firing off two rounds as the car — which was not being driven by Rodriguez — tried to drive away.
At no time was the officer or anyone else near Rodriguez' car in danger, yet he opened fire anyway. Aidan Altobello, the student who filmed the shooting, told CBS Los Angeles he had no idea why the officer shot.
“I just saw two girls fighting, and one got in the car, and that’s when they scurried off and the dude shot at them,” he said.
Shahriear Chowdhury, Rafeul's younger brother, was in the back seat on the passenger's side behind Rodriguez when the cop opened fire.
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“One of the bullets went through the door, I could have been shot in the rib,” Shahriear Chowdhury said. “The other went through the window where it got Mona.”
Rafeul told KTLA that the officer never told them to stop and they were simply trying to drive off when he opened fire.
“All we did is just got in the car and left,” Chowdhury told the outlet. “He never told us to stop anytime soon, and the way he shot us, it wasn’t right.”
The family has since retained an attorney and is trying to get the officer arrested. The officer is currently on paid administrative leave.
“The priority right now is to have him arrested,” the family's attorney, Luis Carillo said. “We have a murderer on the streets and he has no business having a gun and a badge.”
Highlighting the unnecessary nature of the shooting is the fact that no one involved in the alleged fight or driving away has been charged.
“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. Everyone in the car was unarmed,” the attorney said. “And the fact is, he shot at someone in the passenger seat with no regard for anyone’s life in the car.”
“The only way we stop these safety officers from shooting unarmed people and killing them is by having them prosecuted and held accountable for what they’ve done wrong to members of the community,” he said.