California school safety officer’s murder trial ends in mistrial after jury fails to reach verdict in shooting of 18-year-old

A mistrial has been declared more than two years after a former California school safety officer was charged with murder for fatally shooting an 18-year-old woman as she tried to flee a physical altercation, after the jury failed to reach a verdict, officials said Tuesday.

Eddie Gonzalez was patrolling an area near Millikan High School in Long Beach on September 27, 2021, when he noticed a fight between Manuela Rodriguez, 18, and a 15-year-old girl, the police said. As Rodriguez and two others attempted to flee the scene in a nearby vehicle, the school safety officer allegedly fired his handgun at the sedan, striking Rodriguez, who was in the front passenger seat, police said.

Rodriguez was taken to a hospital and died from her injuries approximately a week later, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said. She left behind a 5-month-old son. Gonzalez was soon fired for violating the district’s use-of-force policy and charged with murder a month after the shooting.

Seven of the jurors wanted to convict Gonzalez on the murder charge, while five jurors wanted to convict him on a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office told CNN Tuesday.

“To return a verdict on voluntary manslaughter, the jury had to first find the defendant not guilty of the greater offense of murder,” a spokesperson for the office said.

A jury viewed the evidence and did not convict, so it is time to move on from the case, Gonzalez’s attorney Michael D. Schwartz said.

“It’s been 2.5 years since the incident, the civil case was settled,” he said. “We’re hopeful that Mr. Gascon will let everyone move on.”

Rodriguez’s family in 2023 had reached a $13 million settlement agreement with the Long Beach Unified School District in their civil case. The Long Beach Unified School District had said the agreement was not an “admission of liability.”

“I don’t know how to go on, how I’m here, how to move on without my baby girl. She meant everything to me,” her mother Manuela Sahagun said at the time. “All I want is justice – justice for my baby girl.”

The district attorney’s office will review the case and determine how to move forward, District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.

“We respect the hard work that the jury put in while attempting to reach a verdict in this case,” Gascón said. “While we are disappointed that the jury did not reach a verdict, we will carefully review the proceedings and consider our options moving forward. Our commitment to seeking justice for the victim and their family remains steadfast.”

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at