01/30/2012

Family names Calif. officer shot by police

The officer killed was 29-year-old Albert Covarrubias Jr., a four-year veteran of the Santa Maria Police Department

Associated Press

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — Family members on Sunday identified an officer killed by fellow police on California's central coast, and questioned why the attempted arrest that led to his death had to take place while he was on duty in the streets.

The officer killed was 29-year-old Albert Covarrubias Jr., a four-year veteran of the Santa Maria Police Department, his father and sister told KCOY-TV.

Police, who have not released the officer's name, said he had to be arrested immediately on suspicion of illegal sex with a teenage minor early Saturday because of the seriousness of the evidence and allegations against him.

The officer physically resisted the arrest and fired his gun before another officer fatally shot him at a DUI checkpoint where he'd been working, police said. No one else was injured.

"My son was a beautiful person. My son was respected to everybody. My son was a hard worker," the officer's father, Albert Covarrubias Sr., told the station. "I love all my children with all my heart and a piece of my heart has been ripped out of me now."

Sister Andrianna Covarrubias told the TV station, "I'm hurt. I don't know how to take it."

The officer's relatives questioned the need for the public confrontation.

"They said they had all this information to arrest him," Covarrubias said. "Why on the streets? Why there? Was it to ridicule him?"

Police declined to offer any new information or comment on the case Sunday.

But at a Saturday news conference, Chief Danny Macagni said evidence obtained by detectives minutes before the attempted arrest and subsequent shooting was "not only compelling, it was egregious, and needed to be dealt with immediately."

Detectives had been investigating an alleged relationship between Covarrubias and a 17-year-old girl starting Thursday night.

Macagni declined to give details about the evidence, but said it included witness intimidation.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press

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