A school safety officer in Long Beach, California, has been fired after shooting an 18-year-old woman following a physical altercation last month, school officials said Wednesday.
The officer was accused of violating district policy, Superintendent Jill Baker said.
The decision came after Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez was shot by a Millikan High School safety officer on September 27, after a fight between Rodriguez and a 15-year-old girl, according to the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD). As Rodriguez and two others attempted to flee the scene in a four-door sedan, the school safety officer shot Rodriguez, who was sitting in the passenger seat, police said.
After spending more than a week on life support, Rodriguez died Wednesday and her organs were donated, family attorney Luis Carillo told CNN.
Also Wednesday, the Long Beach Board of Education unanimously voted to fire the school safety officer over the shooting. He had been on administrative leave.
“After our internal review, you clearly saw areas where the employee violated district policy and did not meet our standards and expectations,” Baker said at a news conference. “We believe the decision to terminate this officer’s employment is warranted, justified, and quite frankly, the right thing to do.”
The school safety officer violated the district’s use-of-force policy, which directs its officers not to fire at a fleeing person, moving vehicle, or through a vehicle window unless “circumstances clearly warrant the use of a firearm as a final means of defense,” Baker said.
The school safety officer was hired by the school on January 10 of this year and had “no disciplinary issues or complaints filed against him,” Long Beach Unified School District spokesperson Chris Eftychiou previously told CNN in an email.
Eftychiou said school safety officers are employees of the district, not of any police department. He added that school safety officers go through more than 600 hours of state-mandated peace officer training, and the officer had been up to date on that, including twice-yearly firearm training.
Rodriguez’s mother, Manuela Sahagun, told reporters during a vigil held for her daughter last week that her heart was “shattered” and that she did not wish for any mother to go through what she was going through.
The Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office are conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting.
“We send our sincerest condolences to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible event, especially the family and friends of the shooting victim Manuela Rodriguez,” Baker said. “The actions of one employee do not represent our thousands of employees who work each day to provide our students the best education possible.”
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