Slain officer’s family files lawsuit

June 25, 2012

Alberto Covarrubias Jr.

The family of the Santa Maria police officer shot while on duty has filed a suit against the city and the officer who shot Alberto Covarrubias Jr. [KCOY]

When two officers attempted to arrest officer Alberto Covarrubias in January for allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old,  Covarrubias fired several rounds. His best friend Officer Matt Kline then shot and killed him.

Family members discount a recent Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office investigation that determined Officer Matt Kline was legally justified in killing Covarrubias.

In the claim for damages that could reach into the millions, the family says the police department filed a false criminal report, destroyed evidence and conducted an unlawful arrest.

“We feel that the investigation was conducted with a pre-determined outcome clearing the city and its officials of any wrong doing,” Covarrubias family attorney Gil Alvandi told KCOY. “The attempt to protect officials at the highest levels of the police department is blatant and unacceptable.”

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Officer Covarrubias deliberately drew the counter fire from the Sargents and his “best friend” was in on the arrest and ready.

Officer Covarrubias has to qualify each month at the pistol range each and every month in order to carry a service weapon.

It is unlikely that he would have missed shooting the Sargents at close range.

As for this 17-18 year old wannabe police explorer, she might as well sue the agency as well unless they guarantee her a bright future in LE.

The whole thing was poorly “set up” and handled. They should have just called into the supervisors office and had an arrest team disarm him on the way in.

It makes me wander whether the agency are geniuely supervising and whether they are truely expertise enough to handle varying situations that could arise for the big bucks and pension tax payers pay them.

Let this be a lesson..hire irresponsible people just because of their heritage or the ability to speak a language and this is what you get. He had the authority to pull over average citizens and testify against them possibly sending them to prison, but this particular lame brain was afraid to spend even a night in the clink.

I say good riddance, and too bad for this clown. To the City of Santa Maria, fight it and don’t give this family a dime.

WHOA!! I’ve got to take this to task. First I am not in this dead officers corner whatsoever or a fan of afirmative action. Now that being said lets also be fair. Where did the city of Santa Maria know that he was irresponsible? They didn’t know any wrong doing (from my understanding) till shortly before this whole incident blew up. Also on having the authority to pull people over while being afraid to spend one night in jail? If your point is about going out in a blaze of glory then maybe but if in general, hey me and a lot of people are afraid of spending one night in jail. I personally never have, never want to. I get some of your point but I think you’re painting with a pretty BROAD brush.

When I was in the academy, there were not a whole lot of Hispanic recruits. They are good guys and they turned out ok, but it was clear that they were not held to the same standard as the white guys were. How can I say that you ask? I have personally seen the departments drool over bi-lingual Hispanic recruits and hold them to a much lower standard with regards to background, education, and interview performance in order to have that demographic represented in the departments. Not saying that all those guys are bad guys or unfit, but I simply wondering if this could have been the case with this particular guy.

I think that anyone brave enough to face bad guys on a day in day out basis should be gutsy enough to not be so scared of being held accountable that he would rather commit suicide by cop rather than be incarcerated. In my opinion, he was a coward and the SMPD is better off without this guy. When the rubber met the road, he would probably not have had the moral courage to rush into the burning building, face down the armed robber, or rush to help a fellow officer pinned down by an individual with a gun if he could even take a few nights in the pen. I have spent many night in jail, and a metro one at that. Not a fun place to work, not a pleasant place to be a guest, but yeah, I would be OK staying there if I had to by a bad choice on my part.

“His best friend Officer Matt Kline then shot and killed him”

I wish they quite printing this “Best Friend (Matt Kline) shoted and killed him” BS LIE

Besides being a BS lie, its irrelevant!

Seems to me that the Chief who called for this officers arrest while he was on duty should named directly in this suit since it was his decision alone that enabled the slain officer to be confronted while he was armed. A really really bad decision, IMO.

Always have liked you, and Duh, let;s go arrest a guy who is holding a 14 shot double stack 45 ACP SEMI Auto,,,,,,,

Standard choice among LEO “right{, that’s what I would have,,,and he probably had a 9mm for back up. Lame, the chief screwwed way up!

Should of got him in bed right in the act, then you could of shot him for????????? 17-18!

Cops are armed constantly like ‘burger said. Chief knew the cop was dangerous and he was proven right. Procedure says capture and disarm immed. even if it’s the perp himself he’s going to harm.

This psycho was a rapist, a potential murderer and a lousey shot. So now the Chief, who had it right, the cop who almost died protecting you and me from this moron, are guilty? Hardly.

Chesburger, who wants to storm into a dark bedroom with an armed, trained cop in the darkness?

Wait until day break and you hear the shower, numnuts!

And I gave you a point, the truth will come out, maybe he was in love and his best friend who shot him was in love with the same girl, chew on that fat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You just said get him in bed, now wait til morning and he’s in the shower? Which is it?

Plus, your response to Bobfromsanluis is illegible.

And MY nuts are numb?

O.k. I’ll play your Monday morning quarterback game Bob. So they decide to wait to arrest. In the meantime before his shift gets over, the young girl who he kept calling either caves or someone else does and tells him the heat is on. So then what if the cop decides to take it on the run or the cops catch up with him at home. Then either his family or other innocent bystanders could have been brought into this.

Was it the greatest choice of the Chief? Maybe, maybe not but in the end for me the person responible for all of it is the dead one and that is a better outcome then what else could have been. You and I will never know. We deal with this and move on.

Yes, it is true that I played “Monday morning quarterback” on this issue; how else do we learn if a behavior could have been played out with a possibly better outcome? The point that really sticks for me is about sending officers out to confront the suspected officer not only while on duty, but while he is out in the public arena. Of course we don’t “know” if the outcome could have played out any better or worse, but it just seems somewhat logical to wait until the end of the suspected officer’s shift when he comes back into the station to confront him. Yes, there still could have been a shoot out, yes, other officers could have been shot and killed or wounded, BUT, it also seems that since the police department is a “public safety” agency, that containing the confrontation at the police department would have better ensured the safety of the general public. I realize that the chief may have felt differently, that the officer may have been made aware of his impending arrest; my concern, again, was that this incident did not seem to have been thought out with the safety of the general public as an overriding concern.


So Santa Maria is going to waste a bunch of dollars to either prove the PD didn’t lie, or pay this off to move on. Either way – we are screwed.

Maybe the brand new wife is just not understanding that a cute little explorer is far better to hit on than she is or that her new husband is truly scum of the earth and wants several wives. Either way, it seems he did fire his weapon at his own PD brothers – set up or not – and that his BEST FRIEND did the right thing, maybe not shooting him in the leg instead, but at least shooting to protect his PD brothers.

Just doesn’t seem like this officer had his head on straight about life. Really Sad that people feel the only way to move on is to charge for the pain we all feel when someone either dies or does something really stupid. It’s call life and we all could be gone in the next ten minute, either by our own faults or by the faults of someone else.


Lawyers live for these special moments. The scum balls file for anything and always seem to get something… Losers!

Well, nothing would surprise me, but from what I’ve read I believe it was justified. To the family of the slain cop : welcome to the club! Now you have an idea how most people hassled by cops feel. You are guilty until proven innocent, and that is possible only IF you have the time and $$ to fight for yourself, otherwise the best you can hope for is a plea bargain because the cops are assumed to be right and yes, they WILL do whatever it takes to CYA and get you prosecuted. Police departments love to make arrests, citations, whatever, to be able to claim a need for budget increases. Now that you are no longer part of their club, maybe you will see the world a little differently.

This is a very interesting case. When cops turn on cops, something is very, very wrong.

However, what may be tragically lost in this case is what you have implied–when cops turn on civilians, THERE IS SOMETHING VERY, VERY WRONG WITH THAT, TOO!

It seems doubtful to me that the whole truth will come out. There is something weird aboiut the way that this case has been handled. They are going to have to do some real digging and arm twisting to get people to talk.

Police corruption is everyone’s business. The key question might be just how deep it goes.

Exaclty my point and thanks for the only one I need! GO Gimlet EYE! You are on the trail.

I don’t think this case was handled weird. They wanted proof that he had actually engaged in sexual intercourse with this minor before they arrested him. Keep in mind that she was a ranger scout doing ride alongs and her safety was the responsibility of the SMPD. We are talking about serious allegations here and a liability to the city if her allegations were true. So the Chief had her text lover boy and tell him that she thought she might be pregnant. It was an easy way to confirm if he had been having sexual relations with her and his response clearly confirmed that he in fact had. He also told her to keep quiet about it because he would commit suicide before he would do any time. Later that evening the Chief became aware that Cova was suspicious that there was an investigation into his conduct with the under aged ranger scout. What was the Chief to do?

What if Cova didn’t come into the station after his shift?

He had a previous wife who had supposedly committed suicide after Cova didn’t want her anymore but what if there had been more to it? What if he tried to harm (shut up) the girlfriend? He was certainly desperate enough to do anything? So they waited until the end of the shift and decided to arrest him before he could take off and do God knows what. It didn’t work out and it wouldn’t have worked out no matter what they did unless they found a way to approach him when he was unarmed. No doubt he probably always carried as most cops do.

Bottom line is that he was unwilling to answer for his actions. He didn’t want to go to jail and even if he could have got a plea bargain with only probation, he would have lost his job. He wanted to play but didn’t want to pay. I feel sorry for his family, both his wives (dead and living) and his friend who had to shoot him but that’s about as far as I can sympathize.

You speak as if you had all the pertinent facts. This might very well be as you say, but then, all we know is what the police have chosen to reveal up to this point in time. This case has a long way to go. All sorts of surprising things could pop up, for or against the officer.

I’m seeing this case mostly through the lense of potential police corruption and its corollary, police brutality, in a similar way to womanwhohasbeenthere.

Whatever the ultimate outcome, whatever the final truth of this particular matter I have a warning for the police: if you are going to serve a police state, do not think that you are immune to its lethal powers. It is only a matter of time before it turns on you.

If you doubt what I say, just surf around the net for a while and look up “police state,” “police brutality,” etc., and see what police are doing around the country, both to civilians and to EACH OTHER.

Think about it.

Gimlet, I’m certain that I do not have all the pertinent facts but the facts I do have fit the picture and offer a reasonable explanation as to the actions/decisions of the SMPD that evening.

I’m all for faulting the LE when fault is due and I by no means discount “womanwhohabeenthere” complaints. I have seen LE corruption occur myself and actually testified in a police brutality case down south (back in 1992) where the Torrance DA lost his case (Redondo Beach PD) against Arthur Latrelle) and then I testified in the civil suit against the city and the jury made them pay out to the victim. Their behavior had been outrageous against a citizen who was 100% innocent and I just so happened to have seen more than they would have liked. Two of the Officers were out right LIARS, it was disgusting. The up side is that one of the Officers didn’t lie, he didn’t tell the exact truth either but at least he said he hadn’t seen the victim do any of what the other two offending Officers were claiming!

Unfortunately, it only takes one bad experience and one corrupt cop to step out of line. Too often the brothers will cover for the bad cop and that makes it seem like they are all liars, exaggerators and can’t be trusted but in reality it is very few of them who are corrupt. Most LE don’t like being put in the position to have to cover for a brother who lies and violates the citizens rights. They usually try to get rid of them (get them off the force) behind the scenes.

If they “cover” for their “brothers,” they are just as guilty as they are.

I have seen cops beat people quite illegally, and their brothers did nothing to stop the perp, even when they KNEW that the acts were totally illegal and should have resulted in the arrest of the offending officer ON THE SPOT.

This goes on all the time and I for one am sick of it.

A lawsuit…..what a JOKE. Spineless, PUNK cop.

givemeabreak,,,,,,Spineless, PUNK cop.????????Plus ten,,, mentality or morons , get all the facts, would you shoot your son for having sex with a 17 year old, Crist the kid looks 17 too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My take, more to the story, DRUG TEST all the cops and see who can, see through unaltered eyes.

They didn’t’ shoot him for having sex with a 17 year old. They shot him because he shot at them. He shot at them because he didn’t want to man up. He was no kid. He already had one wife in the grave and had married another while he had a 17 year old on the side who he obviously had no honorable intentions towards. His first wife committed suicide after he decided to leave her. This guy was just bad news and wanted to do what ever he wanted to do, to hell with the law or anybody else be it a woman he made a promise to or a job he took an oath for. It was his way or nobody’s way.

What the SMPD did wrong is to hire him in the first place. How did he pass the psyche exam, that’s my question.

I totally agree with you Cindy. Isn’t it funny how some assume he was shot because of what he was being arrested for? He was shot because he resisted arrest; resisted an arrest by shooting his firearm at the arresting officers. If this punk cop was shot at whilst he was making an arrest of a suspect, don’t you think he would have done the same to protect himself and others from the arrestee? Regardless how bungled some think the plan was, it was this punk cop’s duty to submit to the arrest, not go wild west and start shooting.

I have to agree about the “psyche exam.” All police officers should be thoroughly psychologically tested as a condition of entering police training programs. Anybody who does not pass should not be allowed to enroll in the program. PERIOD.

We are getting way too many police officers with psychological problems. They beat people up, harass them, steal from crime scenes, lie on the stand, happily maintain the “code of silence,” gleefully hand out the nuisance/hassle/shakedown tickets to the public right and left, and generally lend a big, big hand in building the POLICE STATE in which we now tragically live.

Welcome to the POLICE STATE, everyone! Please enjoy your stay and don’t be offended when we abuse you. It’s nothing personal.

Bullshit seven shots come out of my gun somebody gets hit!

He committed suicide,”DEATH BY COPS”

It’s the latest craze!


It is a “known” fact in Law Enforcement that many Law Enforcement Officers would rather die by cop, or otherwise, than to be hand cuffed, locked up in county jail, go to court and then go to prison.

I agree with you that if Officer Covarrubias had intended to shoot his fellow Officer / Officers he would have hit his mark when he fired on them first. Instead he chose Death by Cop…imho…

The Santa Maria Police Chief must have known this was a possibility and shouldn’t have placed so many in “harm’s way.”

Finally a guy with a brain, and could you imagine what the general population in jail would do to him, sliced and diced, cut and quarter, head stuffed in the toilet with a broken neck and no witnesses, I jumped into this without reading the previous articles, I am sorry for thinking the kid to be only a few years older than the girl, and does that really matter? The 55 year old pricipal of that school didn’t have to die for dating the 18 yearold and befriending her since she was 12 did he?


The guy means nothing to me and I have no stake to bury, he seems like a jerk