[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
An 18-year-old mother has been shot, leaving her brain dead. And the person who pulled the trigger may shock you.
The tragic incident occurred on Monday afternoon near Millikan High School in Long Beach. Mona Rodriguez, who has a 5-month-old son, was reportedly driving away after a fight with a 15-year-old girl when the high school’s safety officer opened fire.
Mona was the passenger in a vehicle alongside her boyfriend and the father of her child, Rafeul Chowdhury, 20, and his 16-year-old brother in the backseat. Both men were unharmed.
The details leading up to the shooting remain somewhat unclear. Via footage captured by an eyewitness and obtained by ABC 7 (below), the officer is seen approaching the passenger’s side of the car (where Mona was seated). Suddenly, the car turns right and speeds away, leading the safety officer to fire at least two shots.
Recalling the horrifying moment to the news outlet, Mona’s boyfriend shared:
“All we did is just got in the car and left. He never told us to stop anytime soon, and the way he shot us, it wasn’t right. He could have shot my tires, but why straight to the window to someone’s head?”
It’s a good point. But honestly, why was he firing a gun at all?? He wasn’t trying to save someone’s life or take down a killer or something. Students got into a fight, and it was already over. And for that he needed lethal force??
It also sounds like those in the car were never even warned that he had a weapon or that he might use it. In the footage, a witness is heard yelling:
“He has his gun! No! Get down!”
Unfortunately, the bystander’s warning was too late…
According to police, Rodriguez was involved in a fight with another girl near Spring Street and Palo Verde Avenue. An investigation into the other passenger’s possible involvement is being conducted at this time. Chowdhury explained why the officer was initially concerned, noting that the official had seen a fight and told Mona and the other girl to stop or he would spray them with pepper spray. They supposedly stopped — and were not warned about any further police actions.
The officer, who has not been identified publicly, had a different side to the story. He told authorities he believed Rodriguez was assaulting the 15-year-old. Sorry, but even if that were true, how could that possibly justify killing her — and potentially other innocent bystanders near her??
Since the accident, the officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Unfortunately, the school doesn’t sound so sorry. Long Beach Unified Superintendent Jill Baker defended the district’s school safety officers, telling KTLA:
“[They are] highly trained and held accountable to the established standards in their profession.”
Sorry, but “highly trained”? No. Someone who fires their gun so easily should never have had one in the first place.
The family is now fighting for justice. Heartbreakingly, due to the injuries obtained in the shooting, Mona was left brain dead and on life support. Her loved ones are currently saying their final goodbyes before the hospital forces her off the life-preserving machines.
On behalf of the family, civil rights activist Najee Ali called for the officer’s arrest, announcing on Wednesday:
“There’s no excuse, no justification for this officer shooting in the back rear-side passenger window of a car with a woman who’s unarmed. In fact, everyone in the car was unarmed. And the fact is, he shot at someone in the passenger seat with no regard for anyone’s life in the car.”
100%. Just a shocking abuse of authority by someone who is supposed to be keeping children safe.
Rafeul mourned his “baby momma,” adding:
“Today I just want justice for my girl, my baby momma, my love of my life that I lost, that I can’t get back ever again. I don’t even know what to tell my five-month-old son.”
They had been trying to have a baby for a while, he continued:
“And now we do, and now she’s gone. I just got to step up now and play the mother and the father role, and keep my son strong.”
Ugh. So, so devastating. Truly something the family should never have had to suffer…
According to a GoFundMe page set up to support Mona’s loved ones in this trying time, she leaves “behind her mom, 4 brothers, and her sister but most importantly she’s leaving behind her 5-month-old baby boy Isael.” The love for her son was also unmatched, the description continued:
“She 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.”
They are now solely committed to preserving her legacy for the little boy, as her cousin concluded:
“Mona I promise you we wont let your son forget you. Everyday we will remind him of you and tell him how much you loved him and how he meant the world to you.”
We’ll be thinking of this family as they mourn this tremendous loss.
[Image via GoFundMe]
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