Santa Barbara Sheriff’s detectives are searching for a suspect in the homicide at Pacifica Suites in Goleta — though when deputies first arrived at the scene Thursday night after hearing reports of shots fired, they reportedly found no suspects or victims, only a pool of blood and broken glass.
Reports of shots fired at the hotel were first made around 8 p.m. on February 10, and by the time Sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found parking signs knocked down and a bullet hole through one of the windows where they found the blood. The amount of blood, and evidence of shots fired in the parking lot and the hotel room, led authorities to notify all nearby hospitals that someone would likely show up with a gunshot wound.
Nearly an hour later, a man later identified as 43-year-old Richard Andrew Cardona of Goleta arrived at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, a half mile away, bleeding from the head. Medical staff reportedly moved him to the ER, where it was then decided he needed to be transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. At 9:40 p.m. — just 20 minutes after arriving at the Goleta hospital — Cardona was declared dead.
With the shooting now a homicide case, detectives, crime scene technicians, and the California Department of Justice Bureau of Forensic Service have been working continuously overnight, according to a statement from Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Raquel Zick. Two people were associated with the hotel room involved in the incident, and detectives have learned that both the shooter and Cardona were “familiar” with each other before the incident.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that the victim and the suspect were familiar with each other, and this was not a random attack,” Zick said. There were reportedly two shooting locations, the parking lot and hotel room, and witnesses reported seeing a gray BMW 2002 near the scene around the time of the shooting.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Sheriff’s detectives at (805) 681-4150. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can provide information by calling the Sheriff’s tip line at (805) 681-4171 or visiting SBSheriff.org.