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Santa Maria officer killed by colleague was 'dangerous threat'

February 3, 2012 | 11:01 pm

Photo: Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni briefs reporters on the shooting death of a police officer suspected of having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl. Credit: Leah Thompson / Santa Maria Times via Associated Press

Santa Maria’s police chief has released a statement saying his department had information that the officer fatally shot by a colleague on the morning of Jan. 28 “likely was about to harm himself and also a member of the public.”

Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. was shot to death as members of his own force tried to arrest him on suspicion of having an illegal sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. The statement, released Thursday by Police Chief Danny Macagni, said that officers moved to detain Covarrubias because he presented a "dangerous threat" to himself and others.

“Our goal,” the statement said, “as it is in every situation, was to secure the accused officer with minimal risk to everyone involved. Nobody anticipated that events would unfold so tragically.”

The shooting happened after police received information that the officer was involved in an inappropriate relationship, sparking a fast-moving investigation of Covarrubias. Police officials say when they had enough information to make an arrest, two supervisors were dispatched to a DUI checkpoint where Covarrubias was working.

A fight ensued before he was fatally shot by an officer who had also been working at the checkpoint, police said.

The statement referred the public to the city of Santa Maria’s website for further information on the shooting.

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-- Kurt Streeter

Photo: Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni briefs reporters on the shooting death of a police officer.  Credit: Leah Thompson / Santa Maria Times via Associated Press

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