Santa Maria police officer under investigation shot-killed by police www.privateofficer.com
SANTA MARIA, Calif.Jan 31 2012 - A Santa Maria police officer was shot and killed by a fellow policeman as he was about to be arrested, authorities said.
According to CBS affiliate KCOY, the officer shot was the subject of an international criminal investigation for allegations of sexual misconduct against a 17-year-old girl.
The officer killed was 29-year-old Albert Covarrubias Jr. Santa Maria police officer Matthew Kline fired the deadly shot Saturday morning.
Police say Kline was attempting to arrest Covarrubias on suspicion of illegal sex with a minor. Covarrubias resisted and fired his gun before Kline fatally shot him once in the chest at a DUI checkpoint where he had been on duty.
“He chose to resist,” Police Chief Danny R. Macagni said. “He drew his weapon. A fight ensued. He fired his weapon. And one of my officers that was there also discharged his weapon, and the officer was fatally wounded.”
Covarrubias was rushed to Marian Medical Center for emergency surgery and later pronounced dead from his injuries.
The Los Angeles Times reports detectives believed Covarrubias knew he was under investigation. Police say witnesses were being intimidated, and that the public would be at risk if the officer was not arrested before he left his shift Saturday.
“The information that we had in hand demanded that we not let him leave that scene, get in a car, drive somewhere. It would put the public at risk if he did,” Macagni said. “We just did not know what was going to happen. And we did not expect him to react the way he did.”
In the days prior to the shooting, the investigation into the officer’s sexual misconduct was unfolding. Information was discovered during the time Covarrubias was on duty and it was very explicit, very specific, and it demanded immediate action, Macagni said.
By 1 a.m. Saturday, detectives had enough information to arrest the officer, who would have been booked on multiple felony counts.
Covarrubias’ father said his son was a “beautiful person” and asked whether he was arrested in the streets in an attempt to ridicule him.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the shooting.