Shooting of Santa Maria police officer deemed justified
June 20, 2012
After Santa Maria police discovered one of their own was possibly having sex with a 17-year-old, they worked with the girl to get him to admit to the crime.
When two officers, including his cousin, attempted to arrest officer Alberto Covarrubias in January, Covarrubias fired several rounds. His best friend then shot and killed him.
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office said Officer Matt Kline was legally justified in killing Covarrubias. The 18-page investigation report does not mention Santa Maria Police Chief Dan Macagni, just the men working under him.
The report not only cleared Kline, but also provided information about the events that led up to officers attempting to arrest Covarrubias while he was armed and working a DUI checkpoint.
Two days before the shooting, police learned of the alleged inappropriate relationship. The 17-year-old agreed to participate in a ruse where she would tell Covarrubias she might be pregnant with his child, according to the report.
Covarrubias responded by texting the girl saying, “I’m nervous too baby, have you said anything?” and “I don’t know, if I get caught I’m done.”
He asked her to deny they had sex and said he would kill himself if their relationship was made public, the report said.
“You know, I’ll be honest with you, I won’t go to jail,” Covarrubias texted, according to the report. “I’ll go out, but I won’t go to jail.”
Fearing Covarrubias was suicidal, police made the decision to arrest him at the DUI checkpoint at the end of his shift.
Two sergeants approached Covarrubias, who backed away and fired several rounds, but didn’t hit anyone. Kline, seeing the struggle, drew his weapon and shot his friend.
“Was it Cova?” Kline said, according to the report. “I (expletive) shot him. I had to shoot him. He pulled a gun out and shot at the sergeants.”