A record $13 million settlement will be given to the family of a teenager who was shot and killed by a Long Beach school officer in 2021.

Manuela Mona Rodriguez, an 18-year-old mother, was fatally shot by a Long Beach School District safety officer during an altercation with another girl.

The victim’s family announced the settlement with the Long Beach Unified School District during a press conference on Tuesday.

“It’s been the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my life,” said Oscar Rodriguez, Mona’s brother. “I miss my sister. There’s no money, nothing in this world would ever replace that.”

On Sept. 27, 2021, Mona was shot by Long Beach school safety officer Eddie Gonzalez, 52, while she was fighting with another girl near Millikan High School.

As Mona and two others were driving away from the scene, surveillance video shows Gonzalez shooting twice at the vehicle’s passenger window, striking Mona in the head, authorities said. No one inside the vehicle was armed at the time, according to police.

  • Mona Rodriguez in a photo provided by her family.
  • Mona Rodriguez in a photo provided by her family.
  • Surveillance video showing the moment Mona Rodriguez was fatally shot by a Long Beach School District Officer on Sept. 27, 2021. (Long Beach Police)
  • A press conference held on April 4, 2023 to announce a $13 million settlement with the Rodriguez Family and the Long Beach Unified School District following Mona Rodriguez's death. (KTLA)
  • Manuela Sahagun, mother of Mona Rodriguez, center, hugs family members during a news conference outside Long Beach Memorial Care Hospital on Oct. 1, 2021. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
  • Mona Rodriguez in a photo provided by her family.
  • Mona Rodriguez in a photo provided by her family.
  • Mona Rodriguez in a photo provided by her family.

Mona was transported to a hospital where she was placed on life support, but died eight days later. Gonzalez was later fired from his position and charged with murder.

“He was not in danger,” said Arnoldo Casillas, the family’s attorney. “The car had gone by and there was no reason to shoot.”

According to the Long Beach Police Department’s investigation, Gonzalez had been driving in the area near the school when he saw Mona and a 15-year-old girl fighting in the street.

Mona and two others — Rafeul Chowdhury, the father of Mona’s 5-month-old son, and his brother, Shahriear Chowdhury — then got into a gray sedan and tried to drive away from the scene. At that point, Gonzalez approached and opened fire on the vehicle, hitting the young mother, police said.

“I truly believe in the justice system in this country and I believe in the process,” said Omar Rodriguez, the victim’s brother. “In the end, justice will be done. I’m confident.”

Long Beach Unified School District officials released a statement saying:

“Settlements like these include language that there is no admission of liability on the district’s part. However, we again share our sincerest condolences with everyone who was impacted by this terrible event.”

Mona left behind a 5-month-old boy at the time of her death.

“My nephew, seeing his face, seeing my sister’s face, seeing how my nephew laughs and smiles, it gives me a bit of hope,” said Oscar.

“They recognized that the only way justice could be done is to step up and do the right thing,” said Casillas, the family’s attorney.

The officer, Gonzalez, plead not guilty in court and was released on bond as he awaits a trial hearing. While the family applauds the school district on the settlement, they are hoping for a change in the hiring process for future officers to avoid a tragedy like the one that claimed Mona’s life.