Santa Maria police officer shot, killed by fellow cop

A police officer under investigation for sexual misconduct with a minor was shot and killed by fellow officers Saturday as they tried to arrest him along Santa Maria’s main thoroughfare, authorities said.

The officer was on duty at a DUI checkpoint along Broadway shortly after 1 a.m. when he was shot, Santa Maria police Chief Danny Macagni said in a statement.

The officer, who had been with the department for four years, had just learned of the internal investigation of an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, and it became necessary to arrest him immediately, Macagni said.

Officers were sent to arrest him but he resisted them when they arrived, first putting up a physical fight, then pulling and firing his gun but hitting no one, Macagni said.

Several officers came to help the police making the arrest, and one of them shot the suspected officer in the chest once, Macagni said.

“He chose to resist, to remove his weapon,” Macagni said at a news conference, according to the Santa Maria Times. “We’re saddened by the whole incident.”

The wounded officer was taken to Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, where he was declared dead, the chief said.

Macagni said police had expressed condolences to the officer’s family.

The officer who filed the fatal shot, who had been with the department about eight years, has been placed on administrative leave, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department was investigating the shooting, Macagni said. Both moves are customary in shootings involving police.

The name of the officer killed has not been disclosed because some family members were still being notified, and the name of the officer who fired the shot was withheld while the incident was under investigation, police said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated with additional information from its original version following a Saturday afternoon press conference.