Credit: Courtesy

An 82-year-old man was arrested Monday afternoon after allegedly firing a handgun at three teenage boys he believed were trespassing on his property near a park in the San Roque area, according to Santa Barbara Police spokesperson Sergeant Ethan Ragsdale.

Ragsdale said that SBPD officers were dispatched to Stevens Park around 3:30 p.m. on September 4 for a report of an “adult male firing a handgun in the area.”

When police arrived, they learned that the older man, identified as Santa Barbara resident Roy Eugene Stephenson Jr., had allegedly seen the three teenagers — ages 15, 16, and 18 — in the San Roque Creek bed next to the park. According to Ragsdale, Stephenson “believed they were trespassing” on his property nearby.

“Stephenson had gotten into a verbal argument with the subjects,” Ragsdale said. “After the initial argument, Stephenson retrieved a handgun and fired the weapon in the direction of the three subjects in an attempt to scare them away.”

SBPD found where Stephenson lived, arrested him, and retrieved the firearm that was used in the incident. He was taken to Santa Barbara County Jail and booked on multiple felonies, including threats and assault with a deadly weapon. 

According to Santa Barbara County Superior Court Records, Stephenson’s charges also include a number of enhancements, including “habitual criminal” and “persons not to be granted probation or suspended sentence.” He will be arraigned this week and is scheduled to appear on September 19 for a hearing regarding a gun violence emergency protective order, which would remove all firearms from his property.

Nobody was injured, and no damage was reported due to the incident.


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