H-SANTA MARIA

Jun 19, 2012 4:47 PM by Nikki Ibarra, Caroline Lowe

Santa Barbara County District Attorney finds Covarrubias Jr. shooting as lawfully justified

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney has found the shooting death of Santa Maria Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. as lawfully justified.

District Attorney Joyce Dudley made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

Covarrubias Jr. was shot by another city officer when two supervisors tried to arrest him while on duty on January 28th on charges of having a sexual relationship with a 17 year-old police explorer.

Santa Maria police officials said Covarrubias Jr. fired his weapon first during the arrest attempt at a DUI checkpoint where he had been working that night.

The 18-page report goes into explicit detail about what happened that night.

The report described how Covarrubias Jr. became suspicious that night that police were investigating him and his alleged relationship with the teenager.

It also said investigators listened in as they had her call Covarrubias Jr. in a "pretext call", claiming she was pregnant.

KSBY spoke with Dudley just after she announced her decision Tuesday, and she said the conclusion was not a tough decision.

"You'll see that at the time that there was an attempt to arrest Officer Covarrubias, there were actions on his part that made it necessary for Officer Kline to shoot Officer Covarrubias," said Dudley.

KSBY also spoke to Gil Alvandi, attorney for the Covarrubias family, and he said, they are disappointed with the results, and in a statement, added, "We feel that the investigation was conducted with a predetermined outcome clearing the city and its officials of any wrong doing."

Alvandi said the family will be filing a lawsuit against the Santa Maria Police Department and the city.

City manager, Rick Haydon, is also speaking out saying the city deeply regrets the loss, but they cannot comment about it because it is still an ongoing internal investigation.

This isn't the only review of the shooting. A Los Angeles watchdog group will be looking at whether everything leading up to the attempted arrest was good police practices.

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