Feb 2, 2012 8:07 PM by Caroline Lowe
Less than a month after she married Santa Maria police officer Albert Covarrubias, Junior, his wife is making plans for his funeral service and defending him against accusations of an illegal sexual relationship with a teenager.
Covarrubias was shot and killed by another officer when police said he resisted arrest last Saturday. The officer who shot Covarrubias was his best friend, Matt Kline, who celebrated Covarrubias' wedding with him in Las Vegas last month.
Police Chief Danny Macagni told reporters at a news conference last weekend Covarrubias faced multiple felony charges for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Sources tell KSBY news the teen was a member of the SMPD's Explorer program.
At their apartment in Santa Maria, where his police uniforms still hang in a closet, Gloria Covarrubias sorted through photos and memorabilia which she will have on display at his Monday funeral service. Those items include a letter from Chief Macagni written last October, recognizing Covarrubias as the police employee of the month for his "superior performance and positive attitude" in his handling of a robbery case. The chief also invited Covarrubias to have lunch with him and said he would be honored at an annual police luncheon in 2012.
Three months after the chief sent that letter, Covarrubias was shot on-duty and in uniform as he was finished a DUI checkpoint shift in Santa Maria.
His widow said through her sister that she does not believe the accusations against her newlywed husband.
"She is not going to believe the reports," said Covarrubias' sister-in-law, Yovanna Rios on Thursday. "He really loved my sister. Why would he be messing around? he's not that type of person." She also said, "My sister is not going to remember what they accused him of. She's going to remember him for what he was, how he treated her and who she fell in love with."
Funeral services will be held on Monday at 1p.m. at Dudley Hoffman Funeral Home for Covarrubias.
A annual luncheon to honor Santa Maria police officers was scheduled for two days later. On Wednesday, the Chamber of Commerce announced the luncheon has been postponed. No new date has been set yet.
The City of Santa Maria has set-up a web page with information about the shooting. To view that site, click here.
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