An officer-involved shooting last October in Lompoc was ruled a “justifiable homicide,” according to a review of the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office investigation released by Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley on March 25.
The incident occurred when Lompoc Police were dispatched to a residence on October 9, 2021, after receiving reports of a man — later identified as 32-year-old Travis Carlon — with a gun holding a male and female hostage, with Carlon threatening suicide, according to the report. At least one officer reported hearing a gunshot inside the house.
“When officers arrived and set a perimeter, they asked Carlon to surrender multiple times,” Dudley’s report reads. After police shouted commands for more than 30 minutes over their PA system, “Carlon came out of the residence with a gun and pointed the gun directly at officers.”
Three officers — Mauricio Calderon, Gabriel Molina, and Rudy Mendoza — fired at Carlon, hitting him 15 times; Carlon was pronounced dead on the scene.
“Once Carlon exited his residence with the gun at chest height, with his arms straight out, pointing the gun directly at officers, none of the three officers who fired had any other available resource or technique to de-escalate the threat of Carlon being armed with a gun,” the report’s conclusion reads. “Based on the totality of the circumstances and applying the law, the officers both acted reasonably in their use of deadly force; therefore, the shooting is a justifiable homicide.”
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At the scene, officers recovered a black revolver, which had one spent cartridge and one live round. According to the reports, officers also found a suicide note to Carlon’s children.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Manuel Montez ruled the manner of death as a homicide, writing that the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds sustained in Carlon’s head, neck, chest, abdomen, left arm, left thigh, right lower leg, right foot, and right hand. Montez also concluded Carlon had both amphetamines and alcohol in his system.
The three officers were placed on paid administrative leave following the incident for an undisclosed amount of time.
The analysis was based upon investigative reports, coroner’s reports, video and audio recordings, photographs, and witness interviews taken during the investigation led by Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Detective Daniel Kohli.
A Lompoc police shooting in 2021 involving a suspect charging officers with a knife and a clown mask was also ruled a justifiable homicide.