DA finds no crimes in shooting of Santa Maria officer
March 13, 2013
Following the disciplining of nine Santa Maria police officers for their roles in the shooting death of officer Alberto Covarrubias, Jr., Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley announced Tuesday that her office found no evidence of criminal action by members of the Santa Maria Police Department involved in the shooting death of one of its own officers. [Santa Maria Times]
Last week, Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin fired two top managers and reprimanded seven officers in connection with the shooting of Covarrubias by his best friend and fellow officer Matt Kline.
Dudley initially cleared Kline and other officers involved in the shooting of the 29-year-old Covarrubias of any criminal wrongdoing in June 2012 when she released an 18-page investigation report on the incident.
Tuesday, Dudley expressed “gratitude” to Martin for his “diligence, cooperation and unrelenting professionalism,” but the district attorney announced no plans to file charges.
“Based upon our independent review, we find there is no evidence of underlying criminal violations by any Santa Maria Police Department personnel with respect to this matter,” Dudley said in a statement.
Martin disciplined the seven Santa Maria police officers and fired the two managers on March 7 after completing an internal affairs investigation into the shooting. Martin’s investigation included 1700 pages of reports and more than 100 recorded interviews.
Kline shot and killed Covarrubias on Jan. 28, 2012, after Santa Maria police officers attempted to arrest Covarrubias at a DUI checkpoint for sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old police Explorer Scout and intimidation of a witness. Covarrubias subsequently fired shots at two Santa Maria police supervisors, prompting Kline to fatally shoot his best friend.