Deputies shot and wounded a man who was allegedly firing at them with a high-powered pellet gun and who had earlier shot two men eating ice cream after asking them for change in Goleta on Saturday afternoon. Read here for the original report.
According to authorities, a call came in to dispatch just before 1 p.m. of an aggressive panhandler in the Camino Real Marketplace at Hollister Avenue and Storke Road. As deputies were responding, witnesses informed dispatch the subject may have a gun. Three deputies came upon the suspect near a large field in the opposite corner of the intersection.
They ordered him to drop the handgun, and, instead, he began firing the weapon an estimated nine to ten times, hitting two of the deputies. The three were able to return fire — three shots total, according to some witnesses — wounding the suspect. Two deputies were hit — one in the face and one in the forearm — by pellets from what has been called a BB gun. The deputies were taken to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital where they may have to undergo surgery to have the pellets removed. The suspect was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where the “extent of his wounds are unknown at this time,” said Santa Barbara Sheriff’s spokesperson Drew Sugars.
The three young men were just sitting down to have ice cream outside of Sweet Alley in the Camino Real Marketplace when they were approached by the suspect, who looked homeless and carried a backpack and guitar, friends Andre Rhodes and Chris Gallop said. He asked for change, and then quickly pulled out a gun, described by Rhodes as a handgun that looked like an airsoft gun. “Within seconds he shot us,” said Gallop, who still had blood on his shirt from what he described as a “grazing” that felt like getting shot by a paintball gun. Gallop estimated he was eight feet away from the man when he was shot. A third man, their friend, was transported to the hospital after suffering a pellet shot to the forehead. The man took off running, and Rhodes and their other friend started after him, they said. “It was pretty wild,” Rhodes remembered.
Sheriff’s deputies, responding to the initial call, swarmed quickly, and, as they closed in, the subject began shooting at them. “He was opening fire on all the police officers,” said Rhodes, who watched from across the street. Both he and Gallop described the man firing on officers after being told to freeze and drop his weapon, and then hearing three gun shots from the officers ring out when the man did not comply. “He wasn’t listening,” Rhodes said.
Several investigators remained on the scene hours after the incident, taking photographs and video of the scene. An investigation is launched after every police-involved shooting.
The names of the suspect and injured deputies have not been released. Sugars is expected to provide more information in a press release shortly.