Expert: Worst plan led to Calif. police shooting

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Associated Press

Posted on June 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 22 at 3:01 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Suspecting that one of their officers was having sex with a 17-year-old Explorer, police in Santa Maria, Calif., hatched a plan to immediately arrest him after he indicated he would rather kill himself than go to jail.

That decision would lead to the fatal shooting of the officer by a colleague while on duty in the early morning hours at a DUI checkpoint.

Although the shooting was deemed legally justified this week by Santa Barbara County prosecutors, use-of-force experts who reviewed an 18-page report about the incident are split on whether police made the right call.

Officer Matt Kline, a five-year veteran, shot and killed Officer Alberto Covarrubias on Jan. 28 as two sergeants tried to wrestle a loaded handgun from him.

Covarrubias fired one round before being hit.

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