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Local News

Arraignment Postponed for Man Shot By CHP Officer

Michael Paul Ledesma
Michael Paul Ledesma

The arraignment of a 19-year-old Santa Maria man who was shot and critically wounded by a California Highway Patrol officer near Los Alamos in July has been postponed to next month.

Michael Paul Ledesma faces four felony charges, the most serious of which is attempted murder of a police officer. Other charges include assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer; assault with a deadly weapon on a woman who made the 9-1-1 call; and felony child endangerment, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Ross.

Ledesma, who has pleaded not guilty to the charges, appeared before Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Patricia Kelly in a Santa Maria court Wednesday, at which time his arraignment was postponed until March 20.

Last month, Kelly held Ledesma on all four original charges and ordered him to trial at the conclusion of a two-day preliminary hearing, according to Ross.

The charges stem from an incident that began about 4 p.m. July 15, when CHP officers and Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 9-1-1 call from Ledesma’s female companion, who reported that he was threatening her and her baby with a knife in a vehicle near Los Alamos.

Prosecutors allege that Ledesma confronted CHP Sgt. Dan Barba with a knife after Barba pulled his cruiser behind Ledesma’s vehicle on Highway 135, 2.5 miles west of Los Alamos. Barba, who testified during the preliminary hearing, was the first officer to arrive on scene.

Believing he was in imminent danger, Barba fired his gun several times, and Ledesma was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with critical injuries.

Ledesma, who is being held in the County Jail in lieu of $1.23 million bail, also faces special allegations of use of deadly weapon and street terrorism — committing the offense for the benefit of or at the direction of or in association with a criminal street gang.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley ruled in December that Barba was justified in shooting Ledesma.

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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