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Charges Filed Against Man Critically Wounded by CHP Officer

Michael Paul Ledesma, 18, of Santa Maria is accused of attempted murder of a police officer, other felonies

Several felony charges have been filed against an 18-year-old Santa Maria man who was shot and critically wounded Sunday by a California Highway Patrol officer near Los Alamos, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.

Michael Paul Ledesma has been charged with four felonies, the most serious being attempted murder of a police officer, which included a gang enhancement and an allegation that he used a knife in commission of a crime, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Megan Ross.

Ledesma, who Ross said is associated with Santa Maria’s Northwest street gang, remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, under 24-hour watch by custody deputies.

Ledesma was shot during an incident that occurred about 4 p.m. Sunday on Highway 135, some 2.5 miles west of Los Alamos, according to sheriff’s Lt. Erik Raney.

CHP officers and sheriff’s deputies were responding 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.

“The (CHP) officer pulled behind the suspect’s vehicle on the side of the roadway,” Raney said. “The suspect exited his vehicle and confronted the officer. The suspect’s actions caused the officer to believe he was in imminent danger, and the Highway Patrol officer fired at the suspect, striking him several times.”

A sheriff’s sergeant was directly behind the CHP officer and observed the incident, Raney said.

Sgt. Mark Williams said that a knife was found at the scene.

Ledesma also faces felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer; assault with a deadly weapon on the woman who made the 9-1-1 call; and felony child endangerment., Ross said.

His arraignment is being delayed until he is medically able to participate in the proceedings, Ross said.

The female victim and her child were not injured, Raney said, adding that the officer also was unhurt.

The Sheriff’s Department is conducting the investigation of the incident, Williams said.

The name of the CHP officer who filed the shots has not been released.

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