Santa Maria Police confirm one man has been shot and killed by police. He has been identified by the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office as 31-year-old Javier Gaona of Santa Maria.
Early Wednesday morning, just before 9 a.m. Santa Maria Police say they responded to the intersection of Enos Drive and South Broadway to reports of man holding a large knife.
Police say when they arrived, they attempted to negotiate with the man to put the knife down. Officials say they used expert negotiators and non-lethal sponge and bean bags. However, they say that did not work.
Officials say after a while the man started to stab himself and that’s when he charged at police with a knife and they fatally shot him.
“There’s nothing else we could have done, especially you have to know when you charge an officer with a weapon they have to bring this to a resolution,” says Lt. Paul Van Meel, Santa Maria Police Department.
Witnesses say a much different story. They say they never saw the man be a threat to police.
“For the police department to do what they did today was very shameful,” says Adan Partida, a Santa Maria resident.
Another woman who saw it all happen bought flowers to place at the site where the man was killed.
“We all have to be aware that each and every person is a human being not only the officers but us as residents as civilians,” says Rosie Torres.
One witness says he had seen him before asking for money behind the Foods Co., along that area.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department released a statement regarding the officer-involved shooting that reads:
“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting as requested by the Santa Maria Police Department. Once the investigation is complete, it will be forwarded to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for review to determine the lawfulness of the force used.”
SANTA MARIA POLICE RELEASE STATEMENT ON OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING
Numerous witnesses on scene report that Santa Maria police officers have shot the man and an ambulance has taken him to a hospital after CPR was performed on the man.
As of 12:24 p.m., Santa Maria police have confirmed the man is dead.
The Santa Maria Police Department says officers located the man in front of FoodsCo at 1465 S. Broadway after walking into a bank at some point earlier in the day. They say officers attempted to negotiate with the suspect for some time but ultimately failed.
The following is a statement taken directly by the Santa Maria Police Department:
“The man continued to hold the knife in a threatening manner. Officers attempted to subdue the man using less than lethal means. Several attempts to subdue him in this manner had no effect. The man began stabbing himself then charged at officers with the knife at which point he was shot by officers.”
Our crew on scene reports that residents in the area who witnessed the shooting are upset and emotions are high. And at a time when police shootings have become a hot-button issue, a conversation has sparked among these residents on whether Wednesday’s police shooting was justified.
Follow reporter Amanda Valdes on Facebook for other updates on this story throughout the day. She will have a live report this evening on NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast News. Check back for continued updates to this developing story.
Santa Maria Police say they are trying to negotiate with an armed man who is threatening to harm himself.
Police responded to the call at 8:44 a.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Broadway and Enos Drive. The incident prompted closures to the nearby streets.
The man has been contained but has a knife, Santa Maria Police Sgt. Valle said.
Check back for continued updates.