Wednesday morning’s fatal officer-involved shooting of an armed man in Santa Maria, has brought tensions like those felt nationally about police use of force, here to the Central Coast.
Facebook and Twitter lit up with messages of outrage from dozens of residents that witnessed the police shooting of a man holding a knife threatening to kill himself at the intersection of Broadway and Enos. Scroll down to read some of those social media posts.
Police said the man rushed at officers with a large knife after negotiations failed, and this prompted officers to open fire. The man has not yet been identified.
The man was taken to the hospital but was pronounced dead.
High tensions and emotional moments unfolded at the scene of the shooting in its aftermath with many calling the Santa Maria police officers “murderers”, while others saying the shooting was justified and in support of officers.
Santa Maria Police Chief Ralph Martin said, “This incident is unique. This this is not part of what’s going on nationally. This person, I believe, had some mental issues and we tried to do the best we could. And I don’t like the outcome. I don’t like the outcome that we had to use deadly force on somebody. But at the same time those officers are going to go home that night when somebody charges at them with a large kitchen knife.”
“All of our officers have been trained in looking at people with mental illness. They’ve all been trained with the less-than-lethal. The last thing an officer wants to do is come to work and get into an officer-involved shooting. There are no winners in this. Nobody wins,” added Chief Martin.
Here’s just some of the social media posts denouncing the incident and some in support of the officers. WARNING: Some posts may have strong language.