The family of a California police officer shot and killed by fellow cops as they tried to arrest him on sexual misconduct charges are questioning the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Police in Santa Maria, California have yet to identify the officer, but his family told KCOY-TV that his name was Albert Covarrubias, Jr.
Early Saturday morning officers arrived at the DUI checkpoint at which Covarrubias was working to arrest him on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Police say Covarrubias would not go without a fight.
"He chose to resist, he drew his weapon, a fight ensued, he fired his weapon," said Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni.
No one was hit, but an officer was forced to return fire, hitting Covarrubias in the chest.
His family is now questioning the timing of the arrest.
"They said they had all this information to arrest him," his sister Andrianna Covarrubias told the TV station. "Why on the streets? Why there? Was it to ridicule him?"
Police chief Macagni said the arrest had to be made "immediately." He said the probe into Covarrubias began on Thursday, and just minutes before the shooting investigators confirmed that an "inappropriate" and "very explicit" relationship had been going on.
Without going into detail, Macagni said "there was some witness intimidation involved," so the action needed to be taken, according to The Associated Press.
"The information that we had in hand demanded that we not let him leave that scene, get in a car, drive somewhere, it would put the public at risk," Macagni said at a news conference. "We just did not know what was going to happen, we did not expect him to react the way that he did."
The name of the officer who shot Covarrubias has not been released. He has been placed on administrative duty as the investigation proceeds.