Eddie Gonzalez, a former California high school safety officer, is facing murder charges for the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old woman last month, prosecutors announced

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Wednesday that Gonzalez, 51, was charged with one count of murder and is currently in police custody. The case remains under investigation by Long Beach police. 

He will appear before a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Friday for his arraignment, officials added. It is not immediately clear if he has retained a lawyer

DA: Eddie Gonzalez Killed Manuela Rodriguez

According to prosecutors, Gonzalez was patrolling near Millikan High School in Long Beach on Sept. 27 when he “he noticed an altercation” between Rodriguez and an unnamed 15-year-old girl. 

Rodriguez then entered a car with a 20-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, who police have said “were also involved” in the fight, though their “participation level” is still being investigated. 

In a video recorded by an eyewitness, officer Eddie Gonzalez is seen approaching the vehicle — “to prevent them from fleeing,” police later said. 

When the car pulls away, two gunshots are heard in the video. 

“Gonzalez allegedly fired his handgun at the vehicle, striking Rodriguez,” prosecutors said Wednesday. 

Police said that Manuela Rodriguez, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was struck in the back of the head, according to eyewitnesses.

She was reportedly taken to Long Beach Medical Center in critical condition, and was taken off life support a week later when her outlook did not improve. 

“We must hold accountable the people we have placed in positions of trust to protect us,” District Attorney Gascón said in a written statement. “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.

51-year-old Eddie Gonzalez, a school safety officer in Long Beach, California, is facing murder charges after prosecutors say he shot and killed 18-year-old Manuela Gonzalez last month.
51-year-old Eddie Gonzalez, a school safety officer in Long Beach, California, is facing murder charges after prosecutors say he shot and killed 18-year-old Manuela Gonzalez last month. Photo credit: Facebook

Family Wants ‘Justice’

“This guy has no business carrying a badge and a gun,” said Luis A. Carrillo, an attorney for Rodriguez’s family said earlier this month. “He shot an unarmed 18-year-old girl without justification.”

Carillo also noted that Gonzalez violated Long Beach Unified School District policy, which states that safety officers “shall not fire at a moving vehicle.”

The district later confirmed that its policy prohibits safety officers from “firing at someone who is fleeing, or shooting at a moving car, unless it’s a last resort for self-defense.”

After the shooting, Long Beach school superintendent Jill A. Baker told parents and staff in a letter that Gonzalez — who was employed by the district, and not a police department — would be “held accountable to the established standards in [his] profession.”

Gonzalez was placed on administrative leave and later fired, NBC reported

Oscar Rodriguez, Manuela’s brother, told reporters last month he hoped to see the officer arrested.

“All I want is for [Gonzalez] to see what justice feels like,” he said.

Manuela Rodriguez, 18, was shot and killed by school safety officer Eddie Gonzalez in Long Beach, California, prosecutors say. Gonzalez now faces murder charges.
Manuela Rodriguez, 18, was shot and killed by school safety officer Eddie Gonzalez in Long Beach, California, prosecutors say. Gonzalez now faces murder charges. Photo credit: GoFundMe

Family Mourns Manuela Rodriguez

Manuela Rodriguez leaves behind a 5-month-old son named Isael, family members have said. She is also survived by her mother, four brothers and one sister. 

“We were six, now we’re five,” said her brother Iran Rodriguez of his siblings. 

In a GoFundMe page set up to assist the family with funeral costs, a family member wrote that Manuela — who loved ones called Mona — “had her entire life ahead of her” when she was shot and killed. 

“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,” the unnamed family member wrote

As of Thursday, the fund drive has raised $36,000 of its $50,000 goal.