Police arrested a 30-year-old Santa Barbara man early Saturday morning after he allegedly held a loaded 9mm handgun to his boyfriend’s head and threatened him during an argument, then fired off two shots as they struggled for control of the gun. Dru Stemm was booked in County Jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and domestic battery. His bail is set at $75,000.
According to police department spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood, the 29-year-old victim, who lives in Claremont, had driven to Santa Barbara earlier in the day to visit Stemm. The two went to dinner — a few hours before the incident, Stemm tweeted: “At @OlioeLimoneSB having the @EdibleSB epicure.sb harvest menu and #wine pairing. Fabulous!” — but started arguing later in the night after visiting two downtown bars.
Stemm drove home to his residence near 100 West Haley Street while the victim walked there, Harwood said. When the victim arrived, Stemm confronted him with the pistol and held it to his head. “A fight for the gun followed during which Stemm punched the victim on the head and fired his gun twice,” Harwood said in a prepared statement. “After Stemm discharged his pistol he dropped it and it was recovered by the victim, who held it until police arrived. Investigation indicates that Stemm was not trying to shoot the victim when he fired his gun, but likely did so in close proximity to the victim out of anger or to frighten or intimidate the victim.”
Both men were initially detained at gunpoint and handcuffed when police arrived at around 1:30 a.m. The victim had suffered minor injuries to his head and face from being punched, and Stemm sustained a minor injury to his forehead during the altercation.
The victim, said Harwood, was put in touch with an advocate from the Santa Barbara County Domestic Violence Emergency Response Team and an Emergency Protective Order was obtained for him.