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Santa Maria police found justified in 2018 deadly officer-involved shooting


SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office says Santa Maria police officers were justified in shooting and killing a 27-year-old man in January 2018.

The DA's office said Friday that it had completed its investigation of the homicide of Alejandro Valdez.

The shooting happened in the evening of January 7, 2018. Investigators say Valdez's mother called 911, but before she could explain what was going on, Valdez took the phone and told the dispatcher that he had knives in his hands, on his ankle, and on his chest. Police say he said multiple times that he was going to die that night.

The dispatcher tried to talk him down and get him to give himself up to officers for more than 30 minutes. Eventually Valdez's brother was heard saying that Valdez was holding his family hostage in their apartment and threatening to kill them.

Later on, Valdez came out of the apartment. Police say he was armed with two kitchen knives. Officers shouted at him to drop the knives, but he rushed out into a courtyard and held the knives up toward officers. Police backed up as he ran into the courtyard and kept telling him to drop the knives, but eventually they used less lethal force to stop him. They say it didn't have any effect on him, and he kept rushing at the officers with the knives. At that point, officers shot and killed him.

The District Attorney's Office says when Valdez advanced at officers with the knives, he "created a reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury" in the minds of the officers, and "the officers each acted reasonably in their use of deadly force."

To read the full investigative report and findings from the DA's office, click here.

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Lindsay Zuchelli

Lindsay Zuchelli is the Executive Producer at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Lindsay, click here.


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