Deadly Shooting by California School Safety Officer Brings $13M Settlement
The Long Beach Unified School District will pay $13 million to the family of an 18-year-old woman who was shot by a school safety officer as she sat in a car, their attorneys announced Tuesday.
The money settles a wrongful death lawsuit filed over the Sept. 27, 2021 killing of Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez.
“I personally don’t really care about the settlement. It’s not bringing back my sister,″ Rodriguez’s brother, Omar, said at a news conference. “I don’t want anybody else to go through this pain.″
Rodriguez, the mother of a 5-month-old son, was shot in the back of the head in a parking lot near Millikan High School in Long Beach. She was sitting in the passenger seat of a car that was driving away after Rodriguez had gotten into a fight with a 15-year-old girl, police have said.
Video posted online appeared to show the safety officer firing at least two shots as the car moved off next to him. At least one bullet pierced a window of the car.
Rodriguez was removed from life support several days later.
The officer, Eddie Gonzalez, was fired by the school district and charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Family attorneys said Gonzalez wasn’t in danger and the car was heading away from him when he fired. The lawsuit contended the district was negligent in hiring him and failed to properly train him.
“We shouldn’t be here today but they screwed it all up by hiring an unqualified future killer cop,” attorney Luis Carrillo said.
In a statement, the school district said it hadn’t seen or ratified a settlement agreement and couldn’t discuss details.
“Settlements like these include language that there is no admission of liability on the district’s part,” the district added. “However, we again share our sincerest condolences with everyone who was impacted by this terrible event.”