Police in northern California shot into a vehicle that was reported stolen, whose driver violently and aggressively tried to run over a detective. The police retaliated by shooting into the car, accidentally killing Elena Mondragon, 16.
Apparently officers from the Fremont Police Department were tracking the stolen car, and had it cornered in an apartment complex parking lot. The male driver of the vehicle decided to hit the gas and ram into two police cars, injuring detectives. The police began to fire at the car. The male suspected of stealing the car escaped on foot and was later arrested while the other female in the car was treated and survived.
Mondragon was unlucky enough to succumb to her injuries at the hospital. Her cousin told the police that the young girl had recently announced she was pregnant.
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“She was only 16,” the teen’s uncle, Miguel Minjares, told KRON4. “It’s not the same knowing she’s not going to be here tomorrow.”
Mondragon was described as a “witty, fun loving girl” in a GoFundMe page set up by Minjares. The family is asking for help to cover the cost of her funeral expenses.
“Her single mother does not have means or frame of mind to handle these details,” Minjares wrote on the account.
In December, the San Francisco police union filed a lawsuit against the city to block a policy that prohibits shooting at moving vehicles. The union argued that there should be exceptions to shooting at a vehicle if it is being used as a weapon.
However, the U.S. Department of Justice recommends that police departments institute policies prohibiting officers from shooting into moving vehicles, noting it’s not an effective tactic to stop a car that is driving toward an officer.
In 2015, the Denver Police Department changed its policy on shooting at moving vehicles after two officers shot and killed a 17-year-old girl they said drove a car towards them. The local district attorney’s office declined to prosecute the officers involved, but the policy now prohibits officers from shooting at moving cars unless someone inside the vehicle is firing at them.
The shooting will be investigated by the Hayward Police Department and Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, according to the Los Angeles Times.