A stranger walked into a home at 322 Ladera Street on Saturday morning, May 17, at about 6:30 a.m. and awakened the sleeping family, according to police, by yelling and screaming at the couple that he was going to kill them and their two children. The couple told police that the man, who was later identified as 26-year-old Phillip Kenneth Matovich of Santa Barbara, took off all of his clothes, ran into the kitchen, and tried to grab a knife, said Sgt. Mike McGrew of the Santa Barbara Police Department. The couple fought with him to prevent that. The man ran out of their apartment, and the couple summoned police, who cordoned off the neighborhood where the naked man was hopping fences.

Officer Tyler Larson
Martha Sadler

Officer Tyler Larson, one of those searching for the man, noticed an open window whose screen had been removed, and went to the front door of an apartment at 310 Ladera Street. “Larson comes to the door, and the man who answers kind of does the eyeball thing” to indicate the intruder’s presence. Through the open bedroom door, Larson could see Matovich sitting on the bed with his arm around a woman’s neck, apparently using her as a shield. Larson shot his taser, its strings hitting the man on the stomach and chest, the electrical shock forcing Matovich to release the woman. “Lots of practice,” Larson explained, when asked how he was able to hit the man without hitting the woman. Larson is a member of the SWAT team.

After climbing in the window of the second apartment, McGrew said, the naked Matovich had taken a knife from the kitchen before entering the bedroom, where he threatened to kill the couple he found there if they did not do as he said. “He leads them around the house and then back to the bedroom,” McGrew said, “and then says to the man, ‘If the cops come, you’d better not tell them I’m here or I’ll kill your wife.’ He did not have the knife in his hand when Larson came on the scene.

Matovich was booked on numerous charges including attempted murder, which McGrew said was justified by his statement that he was going to kill the family at 322 Ladero, followed by overt acts aimed towards completing that threat.


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