The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal Officer Involved Shooting involving the Santa Maria Police Department. The incident began at approximately 6:15 p.m. last night, January 7, 2018 at a residence in the 400 block of E. Mill Street. A suicidal subject, who had allegedly made threats while on the phone with Santa Maria Police Dispatchers, came outside and confronted the Santa Maria Police officers who had surrounded the home. The suspect was allegedly making suicidal statements and was armed with two knives. One Santa Maria officer used a 40mm less lethal sponge round in an effort to stop the suspect as he advanced towards officers. When the suspect continued to advance, while still armed with the knives, an officer involved shooting occurred. A total of four Santa Maria Police officers fired lethal rounds during the encounter, and the suspect was fatally injured. The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation into this incident, which is standard procedure for investigations of this nature.
The decedent has been positively identified as 27-year-old Alejandro Valdez of Santa Maria. The Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office is conducting a death investigation to determine an official cause and manner of death, and toxicology and lab results are still pending. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow, January 9, 2018.
Sheriff’s detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division are conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting at the request of 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.
Due to the active investigation, no additional details regarding the incident will be released at this time.