H-SANTA MARIA

Jan 30, 2012 12:23 AM by Caroline Lowe

Father of fatally shot Santa Maria police officer speaks publicly

The family of the Santa Maria police officer, Albert Covarrubias, Jr., fatally shot on duty and in uniform early Saturday morning, spoke publicly on Sunday for the first time.

Covarrubias was shot by another Santa Maria officer when police say Covarrubias allegedly shot at officers trying to arrest him on allegations of sexual misconduct involving a 17-year-old Santa Maria girl. It happened on Broadway Avenue as the SMPD was wrapping up a DUI checkpoint and Officer Covarrubias was part of that enforcement operation.

"Instead of having the son that's arrested I have the son that's dead. It doesn't make sense," said Albert Covarrubias, Sr.

During the KSBY interview, Covarrubias, Sr., learned the officer who shot his son was his son's best friend, Matt Kline. Officer Kline is also a member of the SMPD traffic unit where Officer Covarrubias was assigned to motorcycle patrol.

"Instead of having a son that's arrested, I have a son that's dead. It doesn't make sense," said Covarrubias, Sr. from his Santa Maria home.

He said he many questions about how the arrest and shooting went down. "Were procedures followed? If they had all this information, why was he told to go to work? Could it have been done somewhere else?"

Covarrubias's father said his son had been on the force for four years and dreamed of becoming a Santa Maria officer ever since he was a little boy.

"He liked the camaraderie they had, like the way they handled things," said Covarrubias.

He is upset that the allegations about his son and the high school student hangs over his son's memory.

"This was my son. He's not perfect in any way or form, just a human being but he was my son."

Corvarrubias added, "He's being dragged through the mud. My main message is he was my son and he's gone and I no longer have a son."

The Corvarubbias family plans to hold a funeral service for the officer later this week. His father said they do not want any police officers to attend.

Beside a large extended family in Santa Maria, Officer Covarrubias also leaves behind his wife whom he married three weeks ago.

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