Former School Safety Officer’s Murder Trial Ends in Mistrial Due to Jury Deadlock

Long Beach, California – A mistrial was declared by a judge in the trial of a former Long Beach Unified School District safety officer accused of shooting an 18-year-old woman, as jurors revealed they were deadlocked on the murder charges.

Jurors were split 7-5, with the majority leaning towards convicting Eddie Gonzalez of second-degree murder in the shooting of Manuela “Mona” Rodriguez near Millikan High School in Long Beach. Despite two days of deliberations, the jury could not reach a unanimous decision.

The incident, captured on video and widely aired on local media, resulted in Rodriguez’s death days later after being taken off life support. The prosecutor argued that Gonzalez acted unjustifiably in using deadly force, escalating the situation with a series of bad decisions.

In contrast, Gonzalez’s defense attorney emphasized that his client acted in self-defense, fearing he would be run over by the vehicle in which Rodriguez was a passenger. The defense presented witnesses who believed Gonzalez was in danger of being struck by the vehicle if he did not move out of the way.

The trial included multiple videos showing the moments leading up to the shooting, with the defense highlighting the fast-paced nature of the events. Gonzalez did not testify in his own defense and was subsequently fired by the school district.

Rodriguez’s family previously reached a $13 million settlement in a lawsuit against the school district, alleging negligence in Gonzalez’s hiring and training. Despite the settlement, the family expressed that no amount of money could bring back their loved one.

The case will continue as Gonzalez remains free on bond, awaiting further court proceedings. The mistrial decision highlights the complexity and emotional weight of the legal proceedings surrounding Rodriguez’s tragic death.