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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 22nd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 33 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 33

District Attorney labels January officer-involved shooting a justifiable homicide

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office released a report on Oct. 17 that said Santa Maria police officers used justifiable force in the shooting death of Robert Michael Guzman on Jan. 13 of this year.

According to the DA’s Office, the Santa Maria Police Department received a 911 call at 10:22 p.m. the evening of Jan. 13. The call was from Patty Castro, who said her neighbor—identified as Jane Doe in the report—was bleeding from her chest because of a stab wound. The victim had fled with her 10-year-old granddaughter to Castro’s house.

Castro reported to police that Robert Guzman, Doe’s husband, followed the fleeing pair into her home, breaking a window to gain entry. Castro told the dispatcher she had locked herself in the bathroom, and Doe ran to another neighbor’s house with her granddaughter.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found Guzman still in Castro’s house. According to the report, Guzman had what appeared to be bolt cutters or pruning shears in his hands. Officers ordered him to drop the item and come outside, but rather than complying, Guzman aggressively approached an officer standing on the other side of a window and smashed the glass.

A short while later, Guzman came through the open garage door, holding the weapon above his head. According to the report, officers drew their firearms and ordered Guzman to drop his weapon.

“He yelled out a ‘war cry’ and rushed directly at the officers,” the report said.

One officer deployed the “less lethal beanbag gun,” the report detailed, and the beanbag struck Guzman in the chest, but didn’t slow him down. As he continued rushing forward, other officers fired their long rifles, hitting Guzman several times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The DA’s Office determined the police were justified in using deadly force because they were acting in either self-defense or defense of their fellow officers.