SWAT Team Called to Arrest Goleta Gunman

Eight-Hour “Standoff” Ends With Realization That Suspect Was Not Home

The Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was called early Saturday morning to attend to an incident in Goleta involving an alleged gun-wielding man at an apartment complex on the 100 block of Nectarine Avenue. Ultimately, the man - 31-year-old Marco Obispo Morales - was arrested, but not as a result of the forced entry that SWAT officers eventually made into his home. Instead, Morales, who wasn’t actually in the house at the time of the pseudo-standoff, was taken into custody when he rode his bicycle home later that day.

The incident began with a 3:10 a.m. 911 call requesting that Sheriff’s deputies respond to a situation involving a dispute between neighbors that escalated when one of them - the man later identified as Morales - displayed a handgun tucked into his waistband. Goleta deputies arrived at the scene, evacuated an adjacent home, and set up a perimeter around the building they believed Morales to be in. Both a SWAT and a hostage negotiations team arrived and attempted to make contact with Morales. Unsure of whether he actually had a gun or what his mental state might be, the officers tried to coax Morales out through various means, but to no avail.

Around 11:30 a.m., the officers forced their way into the home to find it vacant.

Nearly two hours later, Morales returned to the apartment, whereupon officers arrested him without incident on charges of possession of a concealed weapon.

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