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Santa Maria police officer cleared in fatal shooting of colleague

June 20, 2012 | 12:28 pm

Albert CovarrubiasAfter a six-month investigation, prosecutors in Santa Barbara County have concluded that a Santa Maria police officer was justified in fatally shooting another officer who was being arrested on suspicion of sex crimes with a 17-year-old girl.

According to a report from Santa Barbara County Dist. Atty. Joyce Dudley, Officer Albert Covarrubias Jr. learned of the investigation into his relationship with the girl, asked her to deny it and threatened to kill himself rather than face charges.

"Based on the information at hand, it was decided it was necessary to act immediately and arrest the officer,'' the report said.

The late-night arrest took place at a DUI roadblock where Covarrubias was working.

But when officers approached him, "Covarrubias backed away and drew his weapon," according to the report.

After he fired a shot, which did not cause any injuries, Officer Matt Kline, one of Covarrubias' best friends on the force, "saw a life-threatening situation unfold in front of him" and fatally shot his fellow officer.

Covarrubias had recently gotten married and Kline was the best man at his wedding.


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-- Steve Chawkins 

Photo: Albert Covarrubias Jr. Credit: Associated Press