Two suspects are in custody on charges stemming from a reported carjacking on Santa Barbara’s Eastside and a subsequent alleged gang fight.
Police officers responded about 10:55 p.m. Sunday to the intersection of Punta Gorda and Canada streets on a call of a single-vehicle rollover traffic collision. Witnesses reported hearing some yelling that sounded “gang related,” according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.
Responding officers found a black four-door Infinity on its side. The occupants had fled, and that it appeared the vehicle had struck a telephone pole support cable, according to Harwood.
He said the owner of the Infinity called about 15 minutes later to report that the vehicle had been carjacked near the Lower Eastside. The victim provided suspect descriptions and the area was searched.
Early Monday, about 12:05 a.m., callers to 9-1-1 reported possible shots fired and a second traffic collision on the 1100 block of East Mason Street involving a black Ford SUV, Harwood said.
Descriptions of suspects seen leaving the scene of the collision were broadcast, according to Harwood. An officer then spotted the suspects and attempted to stop them. A foot pursuit ensued.
Ernesto Gil Lopez, 23, was apprehended and taken into custody.
Harwood said there was no evidence of a shooting.
Other suspects in the crash were seen running into a home on the 1300 block of East Mason Street, according to Harwood. He said that one of the witnesses reported that a suspect might have been shot.
A perimeter around the residence was established, and Augustine Cruz, 21, was found hiding under some vines in the creek bed at the west end of Salinas Place. He refused to come out of hiding or to show officers his hands, according to Harwood.
Because there had been a report of shots fired and a possible gunshot wound victim, a K-9 unit was deployed to arrest Cruz. He would not comply with orders and was bitten by the K-9.
Harwood said that officers found a stab wound to Cruz’s abdomen, but that he refused to say how it happened. He was treated at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
An investigation found that the second collision was related to a fight that occurred near Mason and Soledad streets, where it appears Cruz was stabbed, according to Harwood.
He said Lopez and Cruz are known Eastside gang members. They were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on misdemeanor charges of resisting or delaying an officer. Lopez also faces charges for violation of parole.
Cruz has been indicted in a 2009 beating case that left Santa Barbara resident Dustin Kor with a serious brain injury, and is facing four felony counts including second-degree robbery with a special allegation of street terrorism and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. On Nov. 20, 2009, Kor was outside a friend’s birthday party near the intersection of Soledad and Carpinteria streets and he was beaten so badly he was unconscious for about a week.
Cruz has also been implicated in a robbery that happened about 10 minutes before Kor was attacked a few blocks away. In that incident, a 21-year-old man was beaten and his backpack was taken. The investigation was reopened last year and Cruz was arrested March 25, 2011, for those cases.
Cruz served 345 days in County Jail then posted $100,000 bail on March 3 of this year, Sugars said. He is also one of the 30 alleged gang members named in the proposed citywide gang injunction documents.