The 21-year-old man shot Tuesday evening in the 1000 block of Olive Street was declared dead roughly 35 minutes after being shot, according to police Wednesday morning. While authorities continue to follow leads — at least one of which resulted in a warrant being served Tuesday night — no one has been arrested.
According to sources, City Administrator Jim Armstrong sent an email to City Hall officials Tuesday night explaining a “white male” had been murdered. The sources, who haven’t been authorized to speak on the record, also stated the victim was riding a bike when the shooting occurred, and that he may have been surprised in some kind of ambush scenario.
Sgt. Riley Harwood said Wednesday morning the man suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. Information passed to The Independent indicated the victim was riding a bicycle southbound on the east sidewalk of Olive Street, mid-block. Officers were at the scene — just a few blocks from police headquarters and even closer to Santa Barbara High School — within three minutes.
Harwood said he was not in a position to confirm if the incident was gang-related.
Tension on the street has been escalating the last several weeks, according to several people. Palabra, a youth outreach organization run by former gang member J.P. Herrada, said his group has been working for a couple of months to quell any violence, but that retaliations had “been escalating for awhile now.”
This is the first murder on Santa Barbara city streets in more than a year, and the first murder involving a firearm since Corey Lyons shot two relatives in their home in 2009.
While his statement was used by this paper to show a rise of retaliations on the street in recent months, J.P. Herrada wanted to clarify the context of his statement to The Independent. Several groups, like Palabra, work to keep the peace on the streets, and have seen success even in recent months of escalating back-and-forth aggression, but when isolated incidents of violence occur, the impact should not be an increase in police funding, but of services to youth.
Said Herrada: “We understand the need for suppression, but along with that has to come intervention services so we can get ahead and keep the youth on the right path. It is possible to get ahead of situations before they become a problem or escalate to violence. That is what we do and that is where the funding is needed.”