Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez, in a rare press conference called on Tuesday, lauded his department for the apprehension of two suspects alleged to be responsible for a March 1 shooting on the Westside that left a 31-year-old victim with a gunshot wound to his head.
With little to go off of other than of a description of the getaway vehicle — which neighbors noticed as being out of place for the neighborhood — the department’s four-man crimes-against-persons detail, led by Det. Michael Claytor, was able to track the shooting back to Lompoc residents Jack and Rebecca Mills, who authorities arrested at a relative’s home in Pahrump, Nevada.
Sanchez said the case was a perfect example of his department’s pursuit of criminals. “We leave no stone unturned,” he said. “No matter where they think they’re going to hide, we’re going to find them.” He also thanked the community for helping crack the case with more than 100 tips submitted.
After the case was publicized in local media, a resident contacted authorities to say they had spotted a black Volvo at the Shell gas station off of Turnpike Road in Goleta. Surveillance photos captured the two suspects with the vehicle, and those photos were circulated to law enforcement in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. A Lompoc detective soon recognized the woman as Rebecca Mills, which allowed detectives to pin Jack Mills as the owner of a black 1993 Volvo. Detectives showed photos of the two suspects to the victim’s family, who positively identified Jack Mills as the shooter. The two were then tracked to Nevada.
Sgt. Ed Olsen said the couple has “an extensive criminal record” which includes a sexual assault and violence toward children, but he wouldn’t elaborate on their past any further. While it seems little physical evidence exists at this point — no handgun has been recovered — it appears circumstantial evidence is strong. Police are also still investigating motive, as there is no apparent connection between the Mills and the residence — a small home in the midst of a quiet Westside neighborhood — they allegedly entered that morning.
The victim — who was shot in the middle of the forehead — and his family have moved out of the residence on Gillespie Street. While the victim is “excited and feels so great,” Sanchez said, he is also struggling with walking and is experiencing substantial headaches.
Jack Mills is in custody on $1 million bail while Rebecca Mills sits in jail on $500,000 bail. They await extradition to Santa Barbara County.