A Long Beach gang member who was arrested and served time in Santa Barbara County Jail after a March 2010 high-speed pursuit that snaked south along Highway 101 in Carpinteria was killed in a gun battle with Long Beach police Wednesday morning.
Erick Balint, 32, had been sentenced in Santa Barbara Superior Court to five years and four months in state prison — he pleaded guilty at the time to a number of felony charges, including domestic violence, robbery, vehicle theft, and recklessly evading officers — and was recently released, said Santa Barbara prosecutor Arnis Tolks.
According to reports in the Long Beach Post, Balint's ex-girlfriend flagged down officers at around 2:30 a.m. in a Carson area neighborhood to tell them Balint had made death threats against her and her family.
When officers located him at a nearby gas station, Balint opened fire on the approaching cruisers, officials said. He then fled through a park, exchanging gunfire with police along the way, and was shot and killed as he tried to break into a home. A handgun was recovered at the scene. Long Beach officials continue to investigate the pursuit and fatal shooting.
During the 2010 Santa Barbara chase, Balint had stolen his girlfriend's car outside of a Linden Avenue grocery store in Carpinteria. When Sheriff's deputies tried to pull him over, he lead them, Ventura deputies, and CHP officers — accompanied by two helicopters — on a chase that ended when he crashed off a highway embankment and knocked himself unconscious.
Tolks, who said Balint had no prior stints in prison before his arrest, noted that during Balint's prosecution Long Beach detectives made it known they were looking for him for unrelated reasons.