A normal Tuesday evening in a harbor restaurant was suddenly interrupted by a loud bang accompanied by a bright flash from an explosive device set off near the kitchen by a customer who then casually returned to his table to finish his meal, according to Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Ethan Ragsdale.
Police and Fire Department personnel responded to the reports of the explosive, and further investigation yielded surveillance footage from inside the restaurant which showed a man walking out of the restroom and throwing an “unknown object near the kitchen” around 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Ragsdale said. A bright flash could be seen coming from the object thrown by the suspect, which officers later identified as a flash-bang typically used by law enforcement and military to “create sound and light diversions” in tactical situations.
After the device was detonated, the suspect — later identified as 55-year-old Eric Carl Strand, from Goleta — reportedly returned to the table where he was eating. Witnesses were then able to point out Strand to the officers on the scene.
Strand was taken into custody and booked into the Santa Barbara Main Jail. He faces felony charges for “maliciously and recklessly possessing a destructive or explosive device” and “exploding or igniting a destructive device. His bail was set at $500,000.
Ragsdale said that no injuries were reported, and police do not know the motive behind the explosive. The incident is currently under investigation, and more information will be released when it is made available.