A fleeing suspect chose to tread water in the Pacific rather than give himself over to police last night. Santa Barbara police responded to a claim about a man brandishing a knife on the 600 block of E. Cabrillo Blvd. at about 10:20 p.m. When officers arrived, they found a man lying on the ground. They approached him with questions about whether he was involved in the alleged altercation. According to the police report, the man gave the officers a false name and acted suspiciously before he fled toward the ocean. Once at the shore, the suspect dove into the water and swam out beyond the breaking swells. A Harbor Patrol boat eventually made its way out to the swimming fugitive, but the man persisted in his resistance for nearly twenty minutes until “the combined effects of the chilly water and fatigue took their toll,” as police spokesman Lt. Paul McCaffrey said in a written statement. The man finally climbed aboard the boat.
Believing he may be suffering from hypothermia, police took the man to Cottage Hospital. McCaffrey’s statement notes that he was “combative” with medical staff there and gave them additional false names. Finally, police determined the man’s actual identity. He apparently fled because he was wanted for parole violation. McCaffrey’s statement ends by noting that “Ironically, [the man] was not the suspect involved in the original disturbance call.”