Santa Barbara Police Arrest Man for Brandishing Knife at Family on State Street

Suspect Allegedly Followed the Family and Threatened Young Boy During Incident

Authorities responded to calls Wednesday about a man with a knife who, according to witnesses, made verbal threats and followed a family as they walked near the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. | Credit: SBPD

A man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly brandishing a knife and threatening a family on State Street, according to a statement from the Santa Barbara Police Department.

At around 4 p.m. authorities responded to several calls about a male with a knife who, according to witnesses, made verbal threats and followed the family as they walked near the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Photos taken from the scene show what looks like a multi-tool pocket knife used by the suspect. | Credit: SBPD

Multiple officers responded to the scene, and were able to contact the victims and detain the suspect, 58-year-old Robert J. Tobarro. Nobody was reported injured in the incident

Tobarro allegedly verbally threatened a young boy in the family, and when the boy’s father tried to intervene, Tobarro pulled a “fixed blade” knife from his pocket. Photos taken from the scene show what looks like a multi-tool pocket knife used by the suspect.

According to the statement from Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale with the police department, it was reported that Tobarro, a transient, “was making verbal threats for an unknown reason.” Witnesses said he was verbally aggressive and appeared intoxicated, and when the victims tried to avoid him, Tobarro became agitated and made additional threats with the knife in his hand.

After the investigation, Tobarro was placed under arrest and booked in Santa Barbara County Jail, charged with a felony for making criminal threats, a felony for child endangerment, and a misdemeanor for brandishing a weapon. He is currently being held on $100,000 bail.


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