Santa Maria police shoot and kill suicidal man, video

July 21, 2016

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UPDATE: The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department has identified the man killed by Santa Maria police as 31-year-old Javier Gaona.

ORIGINAL: In an apparent suicide by cop, Santa Maria police officers shot and killed a man Wednesday who charged at them with a knife. However, the shooting occurred before a crowd of onlookers who began screaming and cursing at the police for using excessive force.

At 8:44 a.m., officers responded to a report of a man who was said to have walked into a bank with a knife. Officers found the man in front of FoodsCo at 1465 S. Broadway.

Police attempted to talk with the man, but the negotiations failed, and the suspect continued to hold the knife in a threatening manner, according to police.

Officers fired several rounds of less lethal munitions but did not succeed in subduing the man. The suspect then started stabbing himself, after which he charged at officers with the knife.

As the man was running with the knife, officers filed multiple bullets at him. The man fell to the ground after he was shot.

Video footage captured by a witness shows the officers were positioned behind patrol vehicles at the time they shot the man.

An ambulance arrived at the scene and transported the man to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

During the standoff, a crowd of onlookers was watching from across the street. After the officers shot the man, witnesses reacted angrily, accusing the officers of using excessive force. Some said the officers should have used tasers to subdue the man.

“You guys are a bunch of murderers,” one man repeatedly screamed.

Others yelled “fuck you” at the police.

One witness, though, said the man was going crazy even after officers fired less lethal munitions at him. Then he charged at the police, the witness said.

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When services are limited to mental health patients, drug dependent patients, and homeless persons, this is the end result.

So while the Sheriff’s get another few officers, panga boats and unicorn catchers, social services, mental health, and nursing services are lacking in our county and in SB county.

I think LEOs are not prepared to deal with mentally ill people. If you are on drugs, it messes with your mind. I don’t expect them to have to “understand” them, I just don’t want people shot. MAYBE if our country valued services more, we wouldn’t have overcrowded jails and violence.

We need more “beat” cops, those who know the community and the people in it. I also think LEO should partner with MH or Public Health to help families in need. It would be more community friendly and would save money in the long run. But hey, all these shootings justifies their need right?

The say they just want to know what happened. That I don’t understand. Pro cop, or con cop, the whole thing is caught on video. You can see exactly what happened.

Idiot deserves to get shot. Charge at someone holding a gun with a knife in your hand what do you expect? He obviously wanted to die.