Authorities tape off City Market in Carpinteria after this morning's stabbing.

Paul Wellman

Authorities tape off City Market in Carpinteria after this morning's stabbing.

Clerk Stabbed in Robbery

Kitchen Knife-Wielding Suspect Accosts Carpinteria Liquor Store Employee

[UPDATE, 11/9, 6 a.m.]: The “person of interest” who detectives had been speaking with following yesterday’s incident was officially arrested, said Sheriff’s spokesperson Brad McVay. James Edwin Hoover III, 19, has been charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and criminal threats, and his bail is set at $100,000. Hoover is a resident of Indiana and was in the area visiting family, McVay said.

According to preliminary reports, the City Market clerk was hurt when Hoover – spooked by the beer vendor who came out of a back room to investigate – held the knife to the clerk and threatened to kill him if the vendor approached. During the confrontation the clerk suffered a stab wound to the chest and laceration to his right hand.

[ORIGINAL REPORT]: A liquor store clerk suffered stab wounds to the chest and hand this morning during a robbery at City Market in Carpinteria. Two nearby schools – Canalino Elementary and Aliso Elementary – were put on lockdown immediately after the incident was reported, and authorities have detained and are interviewing “a person of interest” who matches the suspect’s physical description.

According to Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, Sgt. Brad McVay, police simultaneously received a 911 call and silent alarm signal from the liquor store – located at 501 Linden Avenue – at 8:06 this morning. An adult black male, described as 20- to 25-years-old and wearing a dark jacket and white shirt, purportedly entered the store and held the clerk at knife point. The weapon, said McVay, is believed to be a 10-12 inch long kitchen knife.

Broken glass outside of City Market in Carpinteria allegedly caused by the fleeing stabber.
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Broken glass outside of City Market in Carpinteria allegedly caused by the fleeing stabber.

Though details remain somewhat sketchy, it appears the suspect made his way behind the counter and demanded money. There was some sort of scuffle during which the clerk received his non-life threatening injuries. The altercation drew the attention of a beer vendor who was conducting an inventory check in one of the store’s coolers at the time. Spooked when the vendor came out to investigate what was going on, the suspect fled on foot, said McVay, but not before grabbing a beer bottle and smashing it in the doorway on his way out.

The vendor chased the suspect westbound on 6th Street, reported McVay, but lost sight of him at the corner of Holly Street and 7th Street. The 32-year-old clerk, whose name has not yet been released, is being treated for his wounds at Cottage Hospital. The vendor refused to speak to The Independent about the incident. It’s not clear at this point if any money was taken from City Market.

Authorities are currently processing the crime scene and taking a look at the store’s surveillance camera footage. K-9 units and air support have been called in to assist deputies as they scour the neighborhoods for signs of the suspect.

Deputies, McVay said, located witnesses who pointed them to what are believed to be the suspect’s knife and jacket, both of which were recovered. The information they received also led deputies to a small apartment complex located in the 4700 block of Carpinteria Avenue above a massage parlor. That’s where detectives located the “person of interest” who voluntarily spoke to authorities but, admitted McVay, there were a number of individuals in the apartment complex that matched the suspect’s description. It will take some time to determine if the person in custody is indeed the suspect, he said.

Both elementary schools are no longer on lockdown. Detectives continue to investigate the incident.

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