Santa Barbara County – January 30
A City of Santa Maria police officer suspected of sex crimes with a minor female was shot to death by his own patrol partner during the course of an arrest attempt upon him just after midnight, January 28th.
SMPD officer Albert Covarrubias Jr., 29, a married four-year department veteran, is alleged to have been conducting a sexual relationship with a 17 year-old female, and had become the subject of an ongoing SMPD and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department investigation. According to Santa Maria Police Department Chief Danny Macagni, in a press conference to the media on the afternoon of the shooting held at the Santa Maria Police Station, Covarrubias was concluding a police motorcycle unit shift at a DUI checkpoint when SMPD supervisors attempted to detain him.
Covarrubias “resisted by drawing his service weapon and firing it at arresting officers,” Macagni said. “One of my officers that was there also discharged his weapon in response” and Covarrubias was hit. Covarrubias was taken to nearby Marian Medical Center for treatment, but succumbed to the gunshot wound.
The cop who fired the fatal shot has been identified as eight-year department veteran Officer Matthew Kline, and has been placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigations by Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department detectives. “It’s a very, very tragic day,” Chief Macagni admitted.
In support of the late night attempted arrest of Covarrubias, Macagni indicated that two police supervisors were sent to the DUI checkpoint to detain their suspect based upon “information that was very specific that demanded we take this officer off the street immediately.”
Covarrubias’ father, in speaking with the media just today, indicated that no members of the Santa Maria Police Department would be welcome at his son’s funeral.
Santa Maria Times: More details revealed in deadly police shooting