The man implicated in a brazen, potentially race-related stabbing that took place last Friday on State Street turned himself in to authorities Monday afternoon.
According to Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Lorenzo Duarte, 24-year-old Ryan Christopher Zietlow-Brown was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for attempted murder. Detectives are still working to determine whether they will seek filing hate crime charges with the District Attorney’s office.
In a prepared statement to the media, Duarte’s account of Friday’s incident aligns with what witnesses told The Independent at the scene. (Police declined to comment all day Friday and through the weekend so Zietlow-Brown wouldn’t know authorities were looking for him, Duarte said. “Even bad guys read the paper,” he explained.)
In his press release, Duarte said Zietlow-Brown encountered the 25-year-old black victim and his white friend on State Street at around 11 a.m. on Friday. The two were rapping Bone Thugs N Harmony lyrics while on their way to lunch. Zietlow-Brown reportedly asked the victim if his friend was white.
When he replied in the affirmative, Zietlow-Brown purportedly said something along the lines of, “Tell your boy to start acting like it.” The victim took offense to this and the two exchanged heated words. They eventually broke apart and the victim and his friend continued on their way, but encountered Zeitlow-Brown in the 1100 block of State Street as they were heading back to work.
The two started arguing again when Zeitlow-Brown pulled out a pair of large scissors and began to threaten the victim, said Duarte. The victim attempted to throw a punch as he backed away, but the momentum of the swing caused him to fall. Zeitlow-Brown allegedly proceeded to stab the victim twice in the head with the scissors as he lay on the ground.
The victim fought back and was able break free, at which point Zeitlow-Brown took off running northbound on State Street. Police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and found the victim being treated by medics for serious but not life-threatening injuries. He was transported to Cottage Hospital. It’s unclear if he remains there recuperating or has been released.