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.


Could you imagine fighting WWII today? We would have second guessers wanting to make sure Hitler is as bad as thought. Could we just talk to the German’s first and ask them to capitulate?

Is it really necessary or can we just ignore and let him do what he wants.

Maybe we could tell the Japanese that we understood they really didn’t mean for Pearl Harbor to happen and if they play nice we will look the other way,.

Yes not directly related to cops but the sentiment of how we are today is.

Thank God the press wasn’t like it is today and there wasn’t social media.


Yea I saw that yesterday. If you look at my comment down the thread about situation there is differences. The three guys did a great job but also don’t have the scrutiny of every eye ready to tell them they did it wrong if it didn’t have positive results in the end.

Cops have to face NUMEROUS situations in a society today that is camera in hand ready and complain about every little nuance of things. That is my point. Do you have anything you can say in response to that or do you just use links and not thought?


I counted 15 shots after the bean bag shot. Seems a little over the top however I was not there and this person was not running at me with a knife. The tough part is that he had no where to go, he chose to be there and hold a knife to his throat. It appears that this is a suicide by cop situation. Please, no more


I think the little gangbanger was the coward here. Couldn’t cope with life, couldn’t even kill himself, he had to put it on an officer. Remember Santa Maria is basically a 3rd world country now.


In his memoir former LAPD Chief Daryl Gates wrote about this sort of situation. His comments were sparked by another psychotic individual with a knife who was shot by LAPD officers which was then followed by community uproar.

Gates said words to the effect that there are times when officers truly need to put their safety at risk and “wade in” to deal with such matters — they cannot simply shoot. He noted that when he was a rookie, he and his partner (who responded via a police car) faced a tough situation similar to this one.

Things were getting dicey until the local beat officer arrived on foot. He took out a lead sap (illegal today) and artfully knocked the psychotic individual out with it. There are grave dangers (to both parties) with this approach but it is considerably different than firing away (even if prefaced by bean bags, tasers, pepper spray, etc.)

We are quick to lionize our law enforcement officers. We are quick to point out they “risk their lives every day to keep us safe” yet there seems to be more exceptions to this all the time. We are quick to chant “returning to their family at the end of their tour is what’s most important”, yet I’m not sure that’s actually true.

I’m not sure what sort of weapon or tactic might have been used instead of shooting the crazed individual in this case (I have some ideas) but I do know that attitudes do need to change and that in some cases, law enforcement officers actually do need to put themselves in dangerous situations with the intention of saving lives.

FWIW, I’m not interested in hearing about 7 yard safety zones or just how heroic these police officers are. I’m interesting in finding attitudes (including bravery)/tactics/weapons that will help to save lives.


Yea Sam remember one of the ways to take these guys down without shooting was the choke hold. Now what happened to Gates over that???? Oh that’s right whiny bitches complained about that. Doesn’t matter what the cops do, someone always says it’s wrong.


Apples and oranges. The choke hold was being routinely overused. Then that unfortunate comment about black peoples’ windpipes was made and it was off to the races (no pun.)

My point is this. I constantly hear about how law enforcement personnel put their lives on the line every time they go to work for our safety. Yet it seems to me that measures have been taken to make their jobs safer at the expense of other peoples’ lives. It needs study, that’s for sure.

Finally, no one wants to broach the subject about the impact of female police officers on the safety of criminals. Yeah, read that sentence again. No one wants to recognize that a #225 male cop has a distinct physical advantage over a #125 female cop even if their fitness and training is identical.

Has anyone dared to study the differences in male vs. female officers in how many times they pull/discharge their sidearms? I realize this is a highly taboo area but when lives are at stake, everything needs to be questioned.


Apples and oranges? Really? You brought up Gates and I gave example of something Gates had at his disposal while up and coming cop. Do I really have to explain the relevance?

To your point of dangerous job, yes it is but it doesn’t say they have to get killed in doing it. Usually they are killed by unexpected situations. They were CONTROLLING this situation.

Alright go back to your armchair and explain to the rest of us how easy everything is in your parallax viewing of the world.


It is very understandable that everyone here is upset and questions wether or not Santa Maria PD did everything they could to bring the man in alive. All I can hope for is that each incident is learned from so that tragedys like this can be avoided in the future. It is my belief that SMPD exhausted all non lethal means at thier disposal and all other viable options to bring the man in alive. I am very sorry this happened and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this.


Blue lives matter.


ALL lives matter!




Josey… Considering your concern for this situation, and undoubtedly others, and with all that I have been reading about open recruitments not being filled, may I suggest that you apply for one of these jobs, serve as a patrolmen and make a different in your community. As I recall from your prior postings you are a young man and maybe could help with the changes we seem to need in our communities.


id know well enough not to shoot a mentally ill man with a knife with 202 fellow gang members pointing their gun at him from behind the safety and shelter of patrol cars with potential collateral damage in citizens viewing the whole thing. the thick is deep on this one.

Josey Wales

Ladies & Gentlemen,

The REAL Josey Wales believes that BLUE LIVES MATTER.

Only an imposter would suggest that these young police officers did this shooting as cowards, and having to shoot this deeply disturbed person was both difficult and necessary.

Our rank-and-file officers deserve our support as long as they follow their training and put the needs of the citizenry first. In the case of Santa Maria, the SM City Council has made things very difficult for law enforcement because city leaders embraced ‘Sanctuary City’ policies and the SM City Mayor, Alice Patino, refused to support ICE when they needed support.

Unfortunately, Santa Maria has been inflicted by special-interests politics and leaders willing to disregard the taxpaying public. DO NOT let what has happened in SM take place in SLO County.

Blue Lives Matter.


Dem some straight up cowards. No heroes there. Executing the mentally ill in broad daylight. Straight up cowards.

just thinking

The video and news commentary indicate that his motive was suicide (mental distress) by Cop. He achieved his goal.

From what I saw including distances between the victim ( yes, I said it.), police behind their cars and knowing the width of the sidewalk. KSBY interviewed one of the supervising officers whom stated that their rational behind not using a Taser, was “its ineffectiveness beyond 15 feet and I’m not going to put my officers in needless danger.”

Having recently investigated Tasers and their available ammo, I found that Taser sales the Taser ammo that shoots in distances of 15′,21′,25′, and even 30′. I also noted that the Civilian ammo version is only allowed to acquire the 15 foot ammo for the Taser.

The 21′, 25′,and 30′ wire lengths can only be obtained by Police Agencies.

The question I have is what are the S.M. Police doing in restricting a nonlethal weapon’s effectiveness by caring civilian ammo for their Tasers. Wouldn’t this result in a higher potential of using a Gun.

And lastly, the police are taught to not “wing” the person but to shoot at center mass. And

I’m sure that’s where most if all the bullets landed.

To think that an extra 6′, 10′ or even 15′ could have not allowed him to achieve his goal.


Cowards. That is all i saw. no heroes. COWARDS.

Francesca Bolognini

I totally agree that a person in an extreme psychotic state may become very difficult to subdue. At the point where less harmful methods are not effective it is necessary to escalate to prevent harm to innocent bystanders and LE professionals. However, after viewing this video, I do not see why it would not have been effective to, for instance, take out a kneecap instead of firing a volley of bullets from all directions into the individual. They had the distance from the knife to at least first try. That, in my opinion, speaks to the level of training that is being received. These officers may be acting with the best of intentions, but if they have not been prepared for the intensity of such a situation and given the options for response, this (panic and a hail of bullets) is what is the result.

That is as much our failure as theirs. We need to demand better training for LE, for their safety as well as ours. Incidents are happening all over the country every day in which completely unarmed citizens are being shot. Some of them are even in compliance when it occurs. There is much we could be doing to insure that an officer who is put on the street, especially given the high rate of armed citizens in this country, knows how to diffuse situations rather than escalate them, how to judge situations more accurately and how to effectively protect themselves and the citizenry with alternatives to a barrage of fire more appropriate to an over the top TV show.

It is a very difficult job and it does a great disservice to both ourselves and those expected to serve to send them out less than fully prepared for what they will face with increasing frequency. What is even more troubling is the trend of equipping police depts. with military weapons, with even less training. This is, in my opinion, highly inappropriate and a slippery slope to identifying LEO as the enemy, rather than the protectors of our Rule of Law. We should all be a bit more sensitive to what is taking place in our country, that is what Of The People, By The People and For The People requires. If we do not demand proper Law Enforcement at ALL levels of government, we will continue to loose what is best about our country.


COWARDS. Straight up cowards. no heroes there.