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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 4:58 am | Fair 46º


DA Dudley Rules CHP Officer Shooting Justified

An 18-year-old Santa Maria man is accused of threatening the officer's safety near Los Alamos in July

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley has ruled that a California Highway Patrol officer was justified in shooting an 18-year-old Santa Maria man who allegedly threatened his safety near Los Alamos in July.

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

Dudley told Noozhawk on Tuesday that she sent a copy of her brief finding report to the CHP.

She said the report provided few details because the case against Ledesma is ongoing.

“We don’t want to give out any information that could in any way influence a jury,” Dudley said.

Ledesma was shot and critically wounded during an incident that occurred about 4 p.m. July 15 on Highway 135, about 2.5 miles west of Los Alamos, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

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.

When the CHP officer pulled behind Ledesma’s vehicle, Ledesma confronted the officer, who believed he was in imminent danger, according to authorities.

The CHP officer fired his gun several times, and Ledesma was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with critical injuries.

Ledesma has pleaded not guilty to all felony charges, including assault upon a police officer; assault with a deadly weapon on the woman who made the 9-1-1 call; and child abuse, with 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.

Ledesma is being held in lieu of $1.23 million bail and is scheduled to be back in Superior Court in Santa Maria for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 16.

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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