Sunday, July 15 2012 11:50 PM EDT2012-07-16 03:50:43 GMT
Los Alamos, Calif-It happened on the 135, 5 miles west of Los Alamos. Check back for the latest information.More >>
LOS ALAMOS, Calif. - Just before 4pm Sunday evening, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Deputies responded to reports of a shooting just about 4 miles north of Los Alamos.More >>
SANTA MARIA - The girlfriend of a Santa Maria man in critical condition after being shot by a CHP officer is speaking out.
The shooting happened Sunday afternoon near Los Alamos.
Investigators say the man threatened a CHP officer, as well as his girlfriend and her baby, with a knife.
But the man's girlfriend, who witnessed the shooting, and his parents are disputing the initial law enforcement account of what happened.
"I didn't know if he was dead", says Elisa Morales the morning after watching her boyfriend, 18 year old Michael Ledesma, get shot by a CHP officer Sunday afternoon.
Morales says Ledesma was depressed and drunk when they started arguing in the car with her two year old daughter in the back seat and then wound up lost in Los Alamos where Ledesma pulled out a knife.
"He started saying I'm going to kill myself, I'm going to hurt myself", Morales says, "he had the knife, after I had seen that, he was bleeding everywhere."
Morales said she pulled over on Highway 135 west of Los Alamos and called 911.
"I told the lady you know, he has a knife, he's saying he's going to kill himself, I have me and my daughter in the car", Morales says about her conversation with the 911 operator, "I don't know what else to do."
Minutes later Morales said the CHP had surrounded her car and Ledesma got out with the knife in his hands.
"I don't know if it was a warning shot or whatever, but he dropped it", Morales says about the knife Ledesma was holding, "it wasn't like he got shot and he dropped it, he dropped it himself and he just stood right there. Between the first shot, when he shot him and the knife fell, there was a gap, you know, there was a gap between the first shot and the next two shots and that's when he fell over."
Morales says she was stunned to see the officer shoot Ledesma because he was unarmed.
"I thought he was just going to taser him or arrest him because he had dropped his weapon", Morales says, "he didn't have anything else on him, he just stopped, he wasn't even walking toward them."
The Santa Maria CHP office would not comment on the shooting nor is it releasing the name of the veteran CHP officer who fired his gun.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department says the officer was forced to open fire because he was being threatened by Ledesma.
"They could have tased him", says Ledesma's mother Linda who says the shooting was blatant excessive use of force, "there's no way for the police department to justify the shooting, what they did to my son."
"There's a lot of anger and a lot going on because these police, they're getting trigger happy", Linda Ledesma says referring to a string of recent law enforcement shootings in northern Santa Barbara County, " someone needs to speak up and so something about it because its gone too far."
The CHP says it will not comment further until after the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department completes its primary investigation into the shooting.
The CHP is also investigating the incident which is believed to be the first shooting involving a Santa Maria CHP officer in many years.
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