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Name of Man Fatally Shot By Santa Maria Police Is Released

Investigators are seen behind an apartment building where a 27-year-old man armed with knives was fatally shot by Santa Maria police on Sunday night. Click to view larger
Investigators are seen behind an apartment building where a 27-year-old man armed with knives was fatally shot by Santa Maria police on Sunday night. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A 27-year-old man has been identified as the armed suicidal subject who was fatally shot by Santa Maria police officers Sunday night.

Alejandro Valdez was killed on the 400 block of East Mill Street after he confronted police with knives, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

Officers responded to an apartment building at approximately 6:15 p.m. Sunday after a suicidal man allegedly made threats while on the phone with Santa Maria police dispatchers.

Police surrounded the home and attempted to calm the agitated man, who was armed with two knives.

An officer fired a 40-mm less-lethal sponge round in an effort to subdue Valdez.

“When the suspect continued to advance, while still armed with the knives, an officer-involved shooting occurred,” spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. 

Four Santa Maria police officers fired lethal rounds during the encounter, Hoover added.

“The involved officers have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation into this incident, which is standard procedure for investigations of this nature,” she added. 

An autopsy is set to be conducted Tuesday as part of the investigation to determine an official cause and manner of death for Valdez. Toxicology and lab results also are still pending. 

Members of the Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigations Division arrived at the scene Sunday night to begin investigating the incident at the request of Santa Maria police,

Once the Sheriff’s Department  investigation is complete, a report will be forwarded to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office for review to determine if the officers were legally justified in using force.

The analysis into the use-of-force incident typically takes several months before being released.

Due to the active investigation, no additional details regarding the incident will be released at this time, Hoover said. 

An alleyway behind and a street in front of the apartment building where the shooting occurred remained blocked off for several hours Sunday night while investigators were at the scene.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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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