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A Nipomo man has been identified as the suspect who was shot and killed by county sheriff's deputies after allegedly robbing a CoastHills Credit Union in Orcutt on Tuesday. 

Robert Earl Adams, 30, reportedly entered the credit union on Clark Avenue armed with a knife around 9 a.m., when sheriff's deputies responded to the call.

Adams fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, and was seen running onto Bradley Road before being located by deputies less than three minutes later at the area known as "the Bradley dip" between Clark Avenue and Rice Ranch Road, according to spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

The first deputy to arrive found Adams with four-and-a-half-inch steak knife. He allegedly refused to follow orders and would not drop the knife, Hoover said. Adams advanced toward the sheriff's deputy as he was exiting his patrol unit and, ultimately, was shot. 

Additional deputies arrived on scene and began life-saving measures until paramedics and Santa Barbara County Fire personnel could take over. 

Further investigation revealed that on Monday night, the suspect had been involved in several felony violations in the Nipomo area, which included assault with a deadly weapon and attempted robbery/auto theft at the group home where he'd been residing. He then fled the area in a vehicle, which was stolen from the neighborhood, then eventually made his way to the bank where the robbery occurred Tuesday morning. The stolen vehicle was located crashed and abandoned. 

The Coroner's Office is conducting an investigation to determine the official cause and manner of death, which is pending toxicology and lab results. 

Sheriff's officials said the investigation confirmed that the bank robbery took place at knifepoint and that the exact amount of money stolen was recovered in the suspect's wallet at the scene of the shooting. 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Criminal Investigations Division will continue investigating the case. Once the case is complete, it will be forwarded to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office for an independent review. As is standard in officer-involved shooting cases, there is also an administrative investigation underway to determine if proper policies and procedures were followed throughout the incident.

Per the Sheriff's Office policy, the deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave.

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210


Courts/Public Safety Reporter