Woman shot by school safety officer after brawl with student left brain dead and is not expected to survive, family says

Officer placed on leave as authorities investigate use of lethal force

Justin Vallejo
New York
Thursday 30 September 2021 20:25
Student left brain dead after being shot by school officer as she drove away from fight
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An 18-year-old woman will be taken off life support after she was shot in the head by a school safety officer, her family says.

Mona Rodriguez, a mother of a 5-month-old son, was in the passenger seat of a car at a school in California’s Long Beach, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, when the officer opened fire.

Moments earlier, Ms Rodriguez was involved in a fight with a 15-year-old girl at Millikan High School, police said.

Cell phone footage shows the vehicle driving in the school car park, almost hitting the officer, before two shots were fired on Monday, 27 September.

Rafeul Chowdhury, 20, said he was driving the car while his girlfriend, Ms Rodriguez, was in the passenger seat and his brother, 16-year-old Shahriear Chowdhury, was in the back.

Mr Chowdhury said Ms Rodriguez and the 15-year-old girl had been fighting but that they stopped after the school safety officer intervened and threatened to pepper spray them both.

“All we did is just got in the car and left,” Mr Chowdhury told KTLA5. “He never told us to stop anytime soon, and the way he shot us, it wasn’t right.”

The school safety officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the use of lethal force, authorities said.

Long Beach Unified Superintendent Jill Baker said the district’s officers are highly trained and are “held accountable to the established standards in their profession”.

Family on Wednesday said that Ms Rodriguez was left braindead and was not expected to survive.

The hospital said she would take her off life support within 24-hours, according to the family’s attorney, with brother Oscar Rodriguez saying that decision should be made by the family, KTLA5 reports.

“They’re trying to take my sister away. At first they told me that I would be able to make the decision, and now they’re taking that away from me,” Mr Rodriguez said.

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