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Teen Will Be Taken Off Life Support After School Incident

Manuela "Mona" Rodriguez was shot by a school safety officer--but wasn't in school
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2021 8:43 AM CDT
Updated Oct 3, 2021 8:00 AM CDT

(Newser) Update: The family of an unarmed Long Beach woman who was shot by a high school safety officer and subsequently pronounced brain dead will be taken off life support. Per CNN, the family of 18-year-old Manuela "Mona" Rodriguez announced the news at a press conference on Friday. The officer has been placed on administrative leave while authorities investigate the incident, during which the officer reportedly approached a vehicle Rodriguez was inside near Millikan High School as she attempted to flee the scene of an altercation. The officer opened fire into the vehicle, striking Rodriguez. Also in the car was the father of Rodriguez's 5-month-old son. Our original story from Oct. 1 follows:

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An unarmed non-student was shot in the head by a school safety officer a block away from a Long Beach, California, high school Monday, and her family is demanding answers. Police say 18-year-old Mona Rodriguez was shot after the Millikan High School safety officer broke up a fight Monday afternoon, the Long Beach Post reports. Video shows the officer walk up to a gray sedan in an off-campus parking, then open fire as it begins to drive away. Rodriguez, who was in the front passenger seat, was declared brain dead Wednesday, relatives say, but she is still on life support, reports NBC Los Angeles. Her mother told reporters that she doesn't want her daughter to be "disconnected."

Rodriguez, mother of a 5-month-old boy, had already packed her things in preparation for a move to Kansas with her boyfriend, relatives say. Luis Carillo, an attorney for the family, tells the Guardian that the officer should be arrested for murder. Carillo says there was no threat to the officer nor any reports that anybody was armed, and his actions were "totally against policy, against training, and against common sense." The Long Beach Unified School District says the safety officer—who is employed by the district, not Long Beach police—has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, the Mercury News reports.

Before the shooting, Rodriguez was allegedly involved in an altercation with a 15-year-old girl. The Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County DA's office are investigating. Audrena Redmond, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Long Beach, tells the Guardian that the group has been fighting to get armed officers out of schools. She says there was no justification for the officer's actions. "They were doing what happens among kids, which is fighting and arguing … and then he shot a teenager at close range." The district's use-of-force policy states that officers "shall not" fire at fleeing people or moving vehicles. (Read more California stories.)

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