Tuesday, October 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 33

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 9th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 45

Santa Maria Police shoot and kill suicidal man


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office is investigating an incident involving Santa Maria Police Department (SMPD) officers shooting and killing an alleged suicidal man.

On Jan. 7, just after 6 p.m., four SMPD officers fatally injured Alejandro Valdez, 27, of Santa Maria, outside his home at the 400 block of East Mill Street after he advanced on law enforcement armed with knives, according to the Sheriff's Office.

SMPD officials said in a statement that Valdez reportedly threatened family members inside the house, which led to the call for service. When officers arrived, they set up a perimeter around the area and "attempted to de-escalate the situation by communicating with the agitated male," over the phone. The Sheriff's Office said Valdez threatened a SMPD dispatcher with suicidal threats during this time. Valdez eventually came outside, according to SMPD, but was armed with two knives and "confronted officers after making suicidal statements."

The Sheriff's Office said one Santa Maria officer fired a 40 mm "less-lethal sponge round" to try to keep Valdez from advancing toward the officers. Shortly after this exchange, the four officers opened fire with lethal rounds on Valdez, fatally injuring him, according to statements from both the Sheriff's Office and SMPD.

An investigation into the shooting is being led by the Sheriff's Office. All the officers involved in the shooting will be on administrative leave until the investigation is completed. Placing law enforcement officials on leave following an officer-involved shooting is standard procedure, the Sheriff's Office said. An autopsy to determine an official cause and manner of death, along with a toxicology report, was scheduled for Jan 9.

That day, the Sheriff's Office and SMPD said they would release no additional information until they completed the investigation.

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