The family of Bryan Carreño — shot 20 times by deputies in February 2017 — filed a wrongful-death and civil-rights lawsuit against the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, alleging that two of the five deputies involved had firsthand knowledge of Carreño’s mental-health issues and potentially suicidal tendencies. Deputies shot Carreño after he refused to drop the knife he was carrying upon leaving the house of a neighbor he’d entered while intoxicated on multiple substances. The deputies, who had spent about two hours tracking down Carreño, found themselves hemmed in by the patio fence of the neighbor’s house and opened fire. They claimed they feared for their lives and those of their fellow deputies; the District Attorney ruled the homicide justified.
According to attorney Bill Schmidt — hired by Carreño’s father, himself a retired custody deputy at the County Jail — deputies had been called out in response to Carreño two times in 2016. One of those times, an ex-girlfriend alleged he’d been threatening to kill himself. The other time, he’d claimed she tried to run him over with her car, but she claimed he threw himself in front of the car. She reportedly showed deputies a knife he’d tried to kill himself with. Sheriff’s spokesperson Kelly Hoover said the department could not comment on the litigation or confirm the accuracy of incident reports Schmidt stated he’d gotten from the Sheriff’s Office.