Shooting of Santa Maria police officer deemed justified

June 20, 2012

Alberto Covarrubias

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.”



  1. missm says:

    …an inquiry and that they needed “to be on their toes”. Page two of Dudley’s report spells it all out. It is at that point in which the officer became suspicious about a possible investigation.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  2. missm says:

    It is evident that an arrest would not have had to have taken place at the DUI checkpoint that night had Lt. Flores kept his mouth shut and not mentioned to his officers that Lt. Ast had made Assn inquiry

    (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  3. Pizmo says:

    If this is the quality of people the police department hires, no wonder Santa Maria is a crime infested sewer.

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
  4. Jack L says:

    I understand many are emotional over the situation. But there are details that are not fleshed out in this short article so that readers could grip the entire scenario. These details and time frame will be one of the items that the family attorney will be laying out during their litigation process. The young officer was baited by a lie ‘ruse’ concocted by Santa Maria LE to get him all rialed up at act out on. This was a poorly devised, poorly executed set up from start to finish. That’s the issue that bothers me. Jusice could have been served in a less intimidating and certainly less lethal fashion if only an expiereded chief would have been at the helm and handled this much more professionally. We all want justice but this set up went south in numerous ways and cost a life and no doubt finacial award paid by Santa Maria City.

    (-5) 21 Total Votes - 8 up - 13 down
  5. Ted Slanders says:

    Getting in trouble for having sex with a 17 year old girl and ending up losing your life over it? Are you kidding?!

    Let’s do some very simple Christian math, that even the majority of pseudo-christians that inhabit this forum will understand, shall we?

    If it was okay for Mary, the Holy Mother of Jesus, the Son-of-God, to have spiritual sex with the approval of our Christian God when she was 12 years old, and subsequently a celestial impregnation, then why can’t Christians and others not have sex with a girl that is 5 years older at 17 in California?

    The irony is, that if Alberto Covarrubias was a police officer in Colorado, where the legal age is 17, he would still be alive today. Many of our states even go down to the age of 16 for the age of consent. How ludicrous to state that this girl in question is a “child” 364 days of the year prior to her 18th birthday, but on her 18th birthday, she is now considered a woman and she is now legal?

    If Jesus was born from a 12 year old mother, barring the fact of Jesus religiously being a bastard child because He was NOT born from His earthly paternal father, and therefore also not through the seed of David through Joseph as prophesied (Romans 1:3), then why should Alberto Covarrubias have been worried about having sex with a 17 year old? This is what happens when we don’t follow biblical examples set forth by the inspired word of our Christian God!

    How sad for everyone involved, and being ignorant of the scriptures that have set examples to follow for mankind since they were written.

    (-16) 40 Total Votes - 12 up - 28 down
    • racket says:

      Cova is dead because he pulled a weapon and fired on officers. Not making too much sense of the rest of what you wrote.

      (21) 41 Total Votes - 31 up - 10 down
      • Ted Slanders says:


        With all due respect, I didn’t expect you to understand “the rest that I wrote” because of your previous ramblings relating to my godly biblical statements made before.

        (-14) 34 Total Votes - 10 up - 24 down
        • simplelife says:

          Ted wake up. He drew his weapon and fired it! Thankfully no one else was killed or hurt. He put everyone present at risk of being shot and possibly killed. He made the choice and put his best friend and peers in a awful position. The way it was handled can be debated forever. Although when he drew his gun and fired it he changed the way the outcome would be and he knew it. He was in a position to uphold the law and arrest and put people in jail for breaking the law. By wearing the uniform and badge didnt make him above the law.

          (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
    • Slowerfaster says:

      Brother Ted, Once again, there is no question with your liturgical reasonings.
      Would that the now dead officer had sought your counsel and blessings in advance, PRAISE.

      But that did not happen.

      If he had, he would likely have acted differently, and eventually discovered how the ( what passes for IAD in Santa Maria P.D. ) to have coached their ‘witness” to lie…and thus committed the CRIME of entrapment.

      SO, one dead…and how many other lives ruined by not following Biblical scholarly decree?

      (3) 13 Total Votes - 8 up - 5 down
    • willieslo says:

      “The irony is, that if Alberto Covarrubias was a police officer in Colorado, where the legal age is 17, he would still be alive today. Many of our states even go down to the age of 16 for the age of consent. How ludicrous to state that this girl in question is a “child” 364 days of the year prior to her 18th birthday, but on her 18th birthday, she is now considered a woman and she is now legal?”

      Mr Sanders
      Although this is NOT California Law, I share the sentiment with you.
      Aside from that, the 17 year old is just a cheap low class trash/opportunist to me!
      As for “His best friend then shot and killed him.” What bull!

      (-9) 11 Total Votes - 1 up - 10 down
      • willieslo says:

        “His best friend then shot and killed him.”
        What bull!
        If he was best friends he would have shot the two sergeants!
        What bull!

        (-10) 12 Total Votes - 1 up - 11 down
  6. Slowerfaster says:

    yes, with clarification, this appears to be SBC. Kline had no choice. This judgement was correct. I only hope that he can deal with the aftermath. During this interval, I am sure that there have been counseling sessions and time to reflect.

    Having said that, the whole confrontation set-up was a cluster. It probably should have been done at the beginning of a shift in a confined setting…more of a controlled environment.

    (17) 23 Total Votes - 20 up - 3 down
    • Jack L says:

      Indeed……..A flawed strategy resulting in death.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  7. givemeabreak says:

    And his family has the balls to want to sue

    (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down
    • Ted Slanders says:


      Where is the basis for such a lawsuit? The other officers didn’t have the right to defend themselves in this situation? Are you kidding?

      Maybe there is merit in the fact that they should have arrested Alberto Covarrubias in a more sedate setting, like after he came in to leave work?

      By the mere fact of Alberto stating “I’ll go out, but I won’t go to jail” set the outcome in either case.

      (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down
    • racket says:

      Gall. His family has the *gall* to sue.

      It would take “balls” to “man up” and admit he screwed up. I am not seeing that.


      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
      • willieslo says:

        His family has the *gall* to sue.
        It would take “balls” to “man up” and admit he screwed up.

        Both are true!

        (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  8. KatieEvans says:

    This is so disgusting. The guy could hand it out to lawbreakers but he couldn’t take his own medicine. It doesn’t get much worse than pulling a suicide by cop when you’re one of them and to think he did this to his cousin and his best friend. Don’t feel bad guy’s (arresting Officers) you might have cared about him but he sure didn’t give a crap about you and obviously never did, not really.

    (37) 39 Total Votes - 38 up - 1 down

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