[Update 3:20 p.m.]: The woman has now been identified as city resident Heather Ann Erickson, 48.
[Update 11:07 a.m.]: The woman is now in police custody after surrendering around 11 a.m. She exited the car on her own and briefly stood in front of it, with her hands slightly raised at her sides, before officers walked over to her and placed her in custody without a struggle. Her identity is still unknown.
Wagner said the incident was emblematic of the professionalism and patience of Santa Barbara’s police. He said during tense situations like today’s, they “bend over backward and do everything in their power to preserve life.” They work hard to de-escalate confrontations and “slow things down,” he said.
[Original Story]: Santa Barbara Police Department officers are attempting to coax out an unidentified woman who has barricaded herself in a car just outside Santa Barbara city limits after allegedly assaulting two civilians and a police officer last night.
The suspect, in her fifties, reportedly brandished a weapon and verbally and physically assaulted the two individuals late last night near La Cumbre Plaza before officers made contact at 3 a.m., when she also assaulted an officer. The suspect took off in a short pursuit and then attempted to hide from police inside a white four-door sedan on the corner of Encore Drive and Modoc Road, Police Spokesperson Anthony Wagner said.
The suspect is refusing to leave the car, and police are currently working toward her surrender in partnership with the SWAT team, a crisis negotiator, and a BearCat vehicle. The crisis negotiator is attempting to communicate with the suspect through a megaphone, and the suspect is writing notes on paper and messages on the window with what appears to be lipstick. Law enforcement believes the suspect has multiple weapons in the vehicle with her and that the house the car is in front of is “known to her.”
“She has committed several serious crimes to the point that we cannot walk away. We’re not leaving,” Wagner said about the standoff. He added that they believe mental-health issues are contributing to the incident.
Wagner emphasized that there are no threats to the public, local schools have been notified, and no evacuations for area residents have been issued, although the police are escorting anyone who would like to leave their residence.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.