UCSB police search Oscar Novoa's car following his apparent suicide.
Héctor Sánchez Castañeda

A 28-year-old man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head last night on UCSB’s campus, according to university police. They identified the man as Oscar Novoa from Santa Maria.

Officers and medics responded to reports of a single gunshot at UCSB’s Parking Structure 22 on Ocean Road at about 10:30 p.m. last night. Upon arrival, officers located an unresponsive male in a white car. They found a firearm in the vehicle.

Haley Lawrence, an incoming UCSB freshman, was waiting for her mom to pick her up from a daylong welcoming orientation when she saw a male and female talking next to the parked white sedan in the structure. As Lawrence walked through the structure to find her mom, she said she heard a “popping noise” and that the girl next to the car started “freaking out.” She added, “I tried to comfort her as much as I could, and my mom and I tried to get a glimpse into the car. There was blood splatter on the window.”

The victim was rushed to an emergency vehicle on a gurney at 10:52 p.m. and was taken to the hospital. He was later pronounced dead.

Emergency personnel move Oscar Novoa in taking him to the hospital, where he is later pronounced dead.
Héctor Sánchez Castañeda

Lawrence said she heard the woman with Novoa say to police that she knew him personally and that he had called her to meet on campus to say goodbye.

The scene was sealed off with yellow crime tape, and an investigation is currently underway by UCPD and Sheriff’s Office personnel. No foul play is suspected, and next of kin have been notified.

Novoa is not affiliated with UCSB, according to university police.

A total of 15 enrolled UCSB students have committed suicide over the past 10 years, according to Andrea Estrada, the university’s director of News and Media Relations. Four of them occurred in the past two years. These stats are “in line” with other universities across the nation, according to Estrada.

UCSB Counseling and Psychological Services can be reached 24/7 at (805) 893-4411.


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