A 26-year-old woman who locked herself in her apartment and exhibited bizarre and suicidal behavior was taken into custody by Santa Barbara police officers Monday afternoon and transported to Cottage Hospital for mental health evaluations.
According to police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood, the woman’s roommate found himself locked out of the 1119 Punta Gorda Street unit at around 2 p.m. An “investigation indicated that [the woman] was distraught over a child custody issue” and “possibly under the influence of drugs,” said Harwood in a statement.
The woman, he went on, threatened to leave the gas on inside her apartment to cause an explosion, and shortly thereafter an officer on the scene detected the smell of kerosene. Firefighters arrived to shut off the complex’s gas, and surrounding residents were evacuated.
Harwood said attempts to coax the woman out of the apartment failed, and she repeatedly brandished a knife, at times holding it to her neck. She also set fire to various items in the apartment, including a broom, towel, trash, and photographs.
“At 4:19 p.m., while a set of storage drawers and other items were burning inside of the apartment, officers breached the front door and made entry,” said Harwood. They extinguished the fire and took the woman into custody.