Witness disputes officer’s account of Los Alamos shooting

July 18, 2012

The woman whose boyfriend was shot three times in the chest after she called 911 to report he had a knife is disputing the California Highway Patrol officer’s account of the event. [KCOY]

CHP officials said the officer was responding to a report of 18-year-old Michael Ledesma threatening his girlfriend with a knife in a vehicle that also contained a small child. The officer then shot the suspect during a traffic stop on Sunday near Los Alamos.

Officials said Ledesma threatened the officer who was then forced to shoot him.

The Santa Maria man’s girlfriend, Elisa Morales, gives a very different account of the incident.

Morales, who was driving the car, told KCOY her boyfriend was drunk, depressed, bleeding and threatening to kill himself with a knife. She pulled over on Highway 135 and called 911 to get him help.

CHP officers then surrounded the vehicle, Ledesma stepped out with the knife and an officer fired three times.

“I don’t know if it was a warning shot or whatever, but he dropped it (the knife),” Morales told KCOY. “it wasn’t like he got shot and he dropped it, he dropped it himself and he just stood right there. Between the first shot, when he shot him and the knife fell, there was a gap, you know, there was a gap between the first shot and the next two shots and that’s when he fell over.”

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office has filed charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon on a female victim and peace officer, as well as felony child endangerment against Ledesma. He is listed in critical condition at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is conducting a preliminary investigation into the shooting.


53 Comments

  1. CA Native says:

    And the incident is being pushed to the back page as quickly as possible. Have to protect the authoritarian structure. Don’t ask questions. Move along, nothing to see here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  2. LAPD says:

    To Zaphod:

    And you know for certain that all LAPD patrol units were equipped with in-car video camera systems, including the units involved in the pursuit, when the King incident occurred so those cameras were conveniently described as “non-operational” by LAPD commanders? I am not as certain as you seem to be, but maybe you have more knowledge of LAPD equipment and technology in the 1990′s than I do. Or maybe not. Remember, never let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • zaphod says:

      I listened to a radio performance of the text messages from (between) police units across the basin that night, read by professional actors and sound artists, text once you hear something like that -conversations from behind the thin blue line, it certainly is powerfully dark enough to create a lasting opinion depending on your human sense toward animal behavior, the death of feeling that accompanies.
      yes I have some memory of that night.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

      • Downtown Bob says:

        I have seen those texts too, you have no idea what you are even listening too. Find them and post them, then they can be explained as to what they mean. For example, I vaguely remember a big deal out of one of the on scene officer referring to “monkey slapping time” being a racial slur about King, but in actuality it was slang of the day for hurry up and waiting.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

        • zaphod says:

          do your own research, I heard them preformed live on a stage somewhere in LA perhaps deep inside Harry Shearer’s archive vault I think they are gone…. blotted out of the public memory.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

          • Downtown Bob says:

            “you heard them ‘performed’”..that is your evidence…..a little shaky to be considered proof of corruption throughout LAPD!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

            • zaphod says:

              True, but it is enough to demonstrate how deeply racial fear resentment and ignorance is endemic in LAPD(at the time) one cannot un hear something my ‘text’ comment link alludes to.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  3. z says:

    It is a simple call for help. Cops arive, don’t arrest him, don’t hurt him, he did not mean to hurt me, he is just a little upset right now, Well next time don’t call the cops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  4. abigchocoholic says:

    whatever. Even if her version is true, he still sounds like a piece of trash that needed shooting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

    • Fightforjustice says:

      You sound like trash for saying that! He gets shot by cops and that automatically makes him trash?? Because cops aint ever in the wrong just like that child offender?! Just because their trying to justify their shooting doesn’t make it true!!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. mustangglp says:

    How come all the shooting lately involve law enforcement?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8

    • Mr. Holly says:

      Google Santa Maria.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

      • m2457 says:

        Seriously? Google Santa Maria why? This happened in Los Alamos, and the last incident happened in Buellton… I am not even from SM rather SB, but all the talk about Santa Maria is almost amusing. He got out of the car with a knife in his hand… he drove towards the cops with his vehicle after breaking into someone’s house… he was having a “relationship” with a minor and fired his weapon… etc! Just when are these officers allowed to rightly defend themselves or properly protect us citizens? If it was your daughter and grandchild in this car, maybe you would think differently. I was in no way a perfect young person, nor is the teenager I have now, but it is actually pretty easy to stay on the right side of the law.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Downtown Bob says:

      Because they are carrying weapons and deal daily with very unhappy and unstable people. Oh yeah, and they are allowed to protect their own life of the life of another using force necessary to stop the attack, just as any other citizen is. How about you mustangglp, have you encountered anyone lately wanting to kill you? Next time, I suggest you do not defend yourself and just enjoy!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 8

      • mustangglp says:

        If I did I wouldn’t use a gun or I would ind up like Mr Zimmerman spending my life savings on attorneys! A few years back me and the wife were stalked in San Francisco I used my brain to avoid the situation

        It could be that im a little jaded because one of my best friends was killed when his girl friend
        called the police. He was setting out side there house when they arrived the police said it was a suicide.
        I could not ex-plane to his brother why all the bullet hole in the truck came from the out side?
        ( I was not there nor were there cameras)
        I have no problem with law enforcement I have friends and family in law enforcement But I do know that my friend had his last bad day! Same with the young officer in Santa maria.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 13

        • Downtown Bob says:

          Young officer in Santa Maria….please! He was a predator too scared to even attempt a stint in the jail. He pulled out his weapon and started firing. Perhaps you can think of a better idea than to stop the attack? Perhaps some serious persuasion? Choices have consequences.

          As for not using a gun or ending up like Zimmerman. Number one Zimmerman does not seem to be too bright. Just recently he was giving interviews and this is not a good idea. But IF he would not have ended the attack by the young man by shooting him, Zimmerman could very well be dead. Zimmerman may be the subject of race baiting and political pandering, but you have to admit that he is alive. I would rather be alive and broke than dead and been killed at the hands of some thug. HTW don’t even waste your typing criticizing me over calling Trevon a thug, he was 175 pounds, athletic, and was wearing the local gang uniform of the “goons”, a black hoodie, which prompted Zimmerman to call and report him anyways. Trevon was not a little young boy with a clean record from what I can tell.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

          • Downtown Bob says:

            Too bad you were not at the horrible Colorado shooting to stop it with your brain!

            Case in point, you could not have used your brain to stop the sicko from killing people. Guns or clubs, defenseless crowds are a target for bullies worldwide. Mexico, Vietnam, Laos, Syria, Egypt, China, Norway, and large groups of people here in the United States at times are considered safe to target with brutality by the deranged, thugs and or Governments.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  6. Booty JuJu says:

    Go to work, respond to a call, defend your life, get accused of manslaughter / attempted murder and likely sued. Sometimes I think they deserve the wages and early retirement pensions.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 25 Thumb down 11

  7. Citizen says:

    There is enough evidence to show if this woman is now lying. You have the tape of the 911 call and the dash video as well as the sheriff’s deputy eyewitness report. I’m sure that all of these were checked before the officer was cleared.

    I suspect, now that she is partly responsible for the entire scenario, that she is trying to excuse her actions and those of her boyfriend. If this is the case, I hope she is charged with something, I don’t know what it would be, but something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 6

    • Mr. Holly says:

      And why has the DA already filed? Guilty!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

      • Citizen says:

        The DA has filed charges on the man that was shot, not the CHP Officer.

        Let me add that the girl and the guy’s parents probably want to see if they can get some money from this incident. Her story, as repeated by KCOY, is shaky.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

        • Fightforjustice says:

          You must be like that, that you assume everyone else is!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. CA Native says:

    If the videotape in the patrol car corroborates the witness’ statement, we will be told there is no tape because the video camera was non-operational at the time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 22

    • LAPD says:

      And your proof of that blanket statement is………

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

    • justme says:

      My two Sheriff Buds let me in on the practice of making sure some things don’t get recorded. Unfortunate.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

  9. LAPD says:

    There are two critical pieces of evidence that can help resolve all the questions posed by those on this site who were not at the scene: the 911 tape and the patrol vehicle in-car videotape (if the vehicle was so equipped). If the 911 tape does not substantiate the statements now being made by the witness/girlfriend, one should logically call into question her integrity and truthfulness and consider her possible motives. If the 911 tape does substantiate the witness/girlfriend’s current statements, then there needs to be more investigation into the dynamics of this shooting incident. But at this time, no one on this site has the answers, just speculation with various motivations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

    • slowtime says:

      My speculation is this Officer should have practiced more at the range.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

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