Law enforcement officers pursue Fernando Castro before cornering him in a Solvang mobile home park.
Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo

Santa Barbara Sheriff’s deputies exchanged gunfire at around 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon in Solvang with a man suspected of abducting a teenage girl out of Solano County the previous day. Fernando Castro, 19, was reportedly shot, though Sheriff’s officials have yet to comment on the unfolding incident. Residents in the area of Val Verde and Fjord Drive were advised to stay inside their homes as a heavy law enforcement presence descended on a nearby trailer park, where Fernando had barricaded himself inside one of the trailers.

Fernando Castro and Pearl Pinson

According to emergency radio communications, deputies spotted Castro’s Saturn sedan at around 3 p.m. in Los Alamos. An Amber Alert with a description of Castro’s car and its license plate had been broadcast statewide Wednesday after he allegedly abducted 15-year-old Pearl Pinson in Solano County near Sacramento. Deputies radioed for air support, and CHP officers joined in the pursuit as Castro headed south on Highway 101 then into Solvang on Highway 246. At around 3:30 p.m., Castro crashed his car on Fjord Drive and fled on foot, firing at officers.

After barricading himself inside a trailer and firing more shots at approximately 4 p.m., he jumped into a nearby pickup truck and tried to flee. Officers opened fire and Castro was hit. Radio communications stated he was slumped over the truck’s steering wheel as deputies cautiously approached.

Pinson was reportedly not in Castro’s vehicle, and her whereabouts are unknown

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

UPDATE: Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover said Thursday afternoon that Castro was killed in the exchange of gunfire with deputies. He sustained multiple gunshots wounds, she said, and a handgun was recovered at the scene. Pinson remains missing. She was described as a white female, 5’ 3” tall, 130 pounds with brown hair (dyed green at the time of the abduction) and green eyes. She has a metallic piercing below her left lower lip and was last seen wearing a grey sweater, black leggings, and in possession of a black and turquoise backpack. Anyone with information as to her whereabouts should call 911 immediately.


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