A Santa Barbara police officer had to go to Cottage Hospital for treatment after being hit by a man with a rock outside Casa Esperanza on Friday February 8, according to police. The officer, responding to a call of a man refusing to leave the homeless shelter at 6:41 a.m., arrived to find Richard Kirenga, 29, with his hands inside his pants pockets. When officers asked Kirenga for identification, he kept his hands in his pockets. The officers approached Kirenga to pat him down, and Kirenga allegedly swung at one of the officers with his right hand, which was holding a rock. The rock grazed the officer’s head, scraping him. Kirenga was tasered and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a peace officer. The officer was able to drive himself to the hospital, where he was treated for the abrasion.
The previous Thursday at about 9 p.m., plainclothes officers were conducting an assignment after several residents and businesses in the 600 and 700 blocks of Montecito Street complained about drug use and sales in the area. The officers saw 28-year-old Fernando Munoz allegedly riding his bicycle without a light and contacted the man. Munoz, according to police spokesman Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte, began talking to one of the officers and “it immediately became apparent to the officer that Munoz was attempting to sell him drugs.” The officers then identified themselves as such, and a search of Munoz turned up roughly seven grams of rock cocaine, a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. It was also determined Munoz had two felony warrants out for his arrest, and that he was on probation. Munoz, who also initially gave a false name to the officers, was arrested for drug possession, false information to a peace officer, violation of probation and the two felony warrants.