LONG BEACH – Former Long Beach Unified school safety officer Eddie Gonzalez, 51, has been arrested and charged with one count of murder following the shooting incident that occurred on Sept. 27 near Millikan High School which resulted in the death of 18-year-old Mona Rodriguez.
Detectives from the Long Beach Police Department’s Special Investigations Division arrested Gonazalez on Wednesday in the City of Orange after a murder warrant was issued. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced the charge against Gonzalez during a press conference on Wednesday.
“We must hold accountable the people we have placed in positions of trust to protect us,” District Attorney Gascón said. “That is especially true for the armed personnel we traditionally have relied upon to guard our children on their way to and from and at school.”
Videos posted to social media from the Sept. 27 incident showed Gonzalez discharging his weapon into the vehicle Rodriquez was a passenger of, just one block away from Millikan High School. According to the Long Beach Police Department, the tragic shooting followed a physical altercation involving Rodriquez, who was 18, and a 15-year-old girl. Gonzalez happened upon the incident while patrolling. While attempting to drive away from the scene, Gonzalez opened fire on the unarmed passengers and struck Rodriquez in the upper body. She was taken to the local hospital and succumbed to her injuries on Oct. 6.
At the time of the incident, the school security officer was employed by the Long Beach Unified School District and was not employed nor affiliated with the Long Beach Police Department nor the City of Long Beach. The shooting tragedy sparked immediate outcry from parents, students, and local residents who demanded the Long Beach Unified School District take action.
The family of Mona Rodriquez held a press conference just days before her passing, outside of the hospital, calling for justice and the need to arrest Gonzalez and charge him with the murder of their dying loved one. One member of the family called out the District Attorney and Attorney General Rob Bonta personally and demanded they bring immediate charges against the “criminal cop” of murder or manslaughter to provide justice to the family.
Multiple protests were held outside District Headquarters calling for the firing and arrest of the former safety officer; as well as for reform to the current policy which allowed for the officer to possess a weapon in the first place. Although the incident occurred off-campus, students and parents continued to express concerns and fears related to the event.
District Superintendent Jill Baker announced the termination of Gonzalez on Oct. 6 following an internal investigation. During a press conference held at the headquarters, Baker expressed condolences to Rodriquez’s family and also confirmed that Gonazalez had broken district policy by firing into a moving vehicle.
The case remains under investigation by the Long Beach Police Department. Gonzalez is currently being held at the Long Beach Jail on a $2 million bail with an arraignment set for Friday at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Long Beach Branch.