Santa Barbara police arrested an armed man Tuesday after neighbors reported him walking around his De La Vina Street property with a semi-automatic handgun. Details surrounding the incident remain unclear, but witnesses say the man had been in a dispute with a neighbor about a dog.
Responding officers in cruisers and on motorcycles descended on the scene in the 1100 block of De La Vina — right around the corner from The Santa Barbara Independent's office — shortly before noon. Two officers, both with guns drawn, momentarily hid out of view behind a palm tree and a hedge until the suspect emerged from the apartment building. The officers ordered the man to show them his hands. He briefly complied, but then dropped his hands and became argumentative. Officers again ordered him to comply with their orders and threatened to shoot. The man raised his hands, but continued to express confusion over why was being confronted.
Less than a minute later, officers armed with assault rifles accompanied by additional car and motorcycle units arrived at the scene. The suspect — who's name has not been released — was eventually handcuffed and placed in an awaiting cruiser.
Neighbors said the man has a history of acting aggressively and threatening people with his gun. Police said Tuesday's incident is under investigation.
[UPDATE, 5:30 p.m.]: Police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood has issued a public statement about today's incident. He said that the suspect, 41-year-old Phillip Cummings, was arrested for possession of a loaded firearm in public and booked in County Jail. His bail is set at $35,000.
Just before noon, Harwood said, officers responded to a call of "a man brandishing a handgun" in the 1100 block of De La Vina Street. “The suspect was contacted at his apartment at that location and taken into custody,” Harwood said. “Cummings had a loaded 9mm handgun tucked into the rear of his waistband.”
Harwood said that just before the call, Cummings was walking his dog when he saw his neighbor’s dog off-leash in a shared driveway next to their apartments. Believing the neighbor’s dog to be dangerous, Cummings took his dog home and returned with “a loaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his residence,” Harwood said. Cummings then reportedly confronted the neighbor’s dog, yelling “Get back!” and “Get behind the fence!” while pointing the gun at it. Cummings then returned home as neighbors notified the police.