Weapons Cache Found by Mental Health Law Enforcement Team

A new experimental law enforcement patrol that combines a sheriff’s deputy with a mental health outreach worker conducted a welfare check this Saturday on a potentially suicidal 27-year-old Santa Barbara city resident who had a collection of 16 weapons, at least one of which was buried in the backyard. The Crisis Intervention Team, as it’s called, conducted a welfare check on the 27-year-old after he texted relatives a long and ominous note that they interpreted to be suicidal.

Law enforcement reportedly received two calls of concern in response. The subject also made remarks expressing admiration for Isla Vista mass murderer Elliot Rodger, who has emerged as a poster child of sorts for the involuntary celibacy movement. The subject of the welfare check reportedly put up no resistance. At least seven law enforcement officers — from both the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and Santa Barbara Police Department — were on hand. The subject is reportedly an accomplished professional poker player and lives at home with his parents. Authorities found $44,000 in cash in his room.

According to one of the agents involved in the action, all the guns found thus far are legally registered; some — a short gun and a long gun — appeared to have been custom made. The handguns were large caliber weapons, and at least some of the weapons had been illegally altered to make them effectively fully automatic. The weapon buried in the yard was a long rifle. The search, however, continues. The subject was taken to Cottage Hospital where a 5150 determination was made, meaning the subject posed an imminent threat to himself or others and could be held up to 72 hours against his will. To date, there’s no evidence that a crime has taken place. Because of the threatening remarks, the Santa Barbara police have executed a gun violence restraining order, meaning the guns have been seized and will be held pending a judicial determination.

This is reportedly not the first contact law enforcement have had with the subject. More than a year ago, officers pulled him over during a traffic stop and discovered nine weapons in the car as well as body armor. There being no evidence of a crime, he was let go. The subject has not come to the attention of mental health workers before, and there’s no evidence he’s received any therapy. The Sheriff’s department started deploying the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) last September to better respond to criminal behavior linked to mental health problems.

Initially the two members — Sheriff’s Deputy James McKarrell and Behavioral Wellness crisis worker Bradley Crable — went out on patrol together one day a week every other week. The program proved popular, and the frequency of joint patrol has increased. It went from every Wednesday, to now Wednesday to Saturday. Ongoing funding for this program remains an unresolved issue.

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