Tuesday, May 31 , 2016, 12:29 am | Overcast 57º

Santa Maria Man Shot By Police Struggled With Addiction

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

Robert Guzman, seen here in a 2011 booking photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, was shot and killed by Santa Maria police officers after he threatened them with a knife.
Robert Guzman, seen here in a 2011 booking photo provided by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, was shot and killed by Santa Maria police officers after he threatened them with a knife.

A Santa Maria man who was killed in an officer-involved shooting this week had struggled with drug addiction for a number of years, going so far as to threaten a doctor who stopped prescribing him medication, according to court documents.

Santa Maria police officers shot and killed Robert Guzman, 50, Sunday night after he allegedly threatened and came at them with a knife after stabbing his wife, according to police.

The incident occurred at a home in the 1100 block of East Sunset Avenue, where the officers had responded at about 10 p.m. on a report of a domestic disturbance, said Sgt. Jack Dunn.

Guzman’s wife of 24 years, Jessica, was taken to Marian Regional Medical Center for treatment of nonlife-threatening injuries and was later released.

Police Chief Ralph Martin told Noozhawk this week that police had been called to the couple’s home more than three dozen times in the past 10 years.

Neighbors said that it was common for Jessica Guzman to seek shelter from her husband at neighboring homes.

Court documents show Guzman’s wife wasn’t the only person seeking protection from her husband.

According to court records, Nathan Singer, a doctor at the Center for Pain Management in Santa Maria, filed a restraining order against Guzman for harassment in July 2008.

The filing, which also protected Singer’s wife and son, described Guzman as a former patient.

“I was threatened with physical harm,” Singer wrote. “I had to discharge (him) from my practice because he was being irresponsible with medication prescribed.”

Singer also wrote that “notifying (Guzman) would infuriate him and aggravate the situation.”

Guzman, who worked as a groundskeeper for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District, recently graduated from a drug and alcohol recovery program at the Central Coast Rescue Mission, said mission director Larry Cooney.

He came to the mission in late 2011 through the court system because of two prior convictions for driving under the influence and driving while his license was suspended for DUI, Cooney said.

Cooney, who referred to Guzman as “Bobby,” didn’t want to share details about Guzman’s addiction out of respect for his wife and family.

According to Guzman’s obituary, he has five stepchildren and 11 grandchildren.

“There are often times that a high percentage come into programs from broken family,” said Cooney, noting that Guzman was very religious. “I know that Bobby really struggled in the area of self acceptance.

“He was clean and sober by the time he left us, and had high hopes of returning to his family. It’s a tough business to get (away) from a life of drug addiction and crime. He loved his family, I know that.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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