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Neighbors and witnesses are being credited with the quick capture of four suspects in a gang-related stabbing near the Westside Boys & Girls Club the night of Sept. 5. Mayhem erupted before they were caught, however, and a 4-year-old boy was injured after being struck by the getaway car.
Santa Barbara police said a 17-year-old was stabbed multiple times just before 8 p.m. during an altercation in the 600 block of West Anapamu Street.
"We do believe this was gang-related," said Lt. Paul McCaffrey, who added that the incident remained under investigation.
McCaffrey said the suspects piled into a BMW and fled the scene. Witnesses called police with a description of the car, which was swiftly located by officers in the 300 block of Ladera Street, not far away.
Witnesses told Noozhawk that a 4-year-old boy was struck by the car as it pulled into a driveway.
One suspect was arrested immediately and a second was found hiding at a house nearby, McCaffrey said. The other two were arrested later that night.
Sgt. Eric Beecher said two adults and two juveniles were arrested. Among the charges they'll be facing are attempted murder, felony hit and run, resisting arrest, aggravated trespassing and driving without a license.
The 4-year-old boy did not appear to be seriously hurt, but was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for examination, McCaffrey said.
The stabbing victim was hospitalized but is expected to survive.
McCaffrey credited the public with an assist.
"One reason were were able to locate and stop the suspect vehicle was information provided by callers. who had seen some portion of this event," he said.
On July 26, 1981, Cheri Domingo, 35, and Gregory Sanchez, 27, were murdered while house-sitting a residence in the 400 block of Toltec Way in Goleta.
Almost immediately, detectives believed the killings were the work of the same suspect they were hunting in the Dec. 30, 1979, murders of Dr. Robert Offerman, 44, and Alexandria Manning, 35. Offerman and Manning were found slain in similar circumstances in their condominium not far from the Toltec house.
To the frustration of Santa Barbara County sheriff's detectives, the trail went cold. Until 2011, when newly developed technology enabled sheriff's investigators and the state Department of Justice DNA laboratory to identify previously unknown DNA evidence.
That DNA profile has since been linked to numerous Northern California rapes, including ones committed in southern Sacramento County in the late 1970s, and to the Original Night Stalker, who was responsible for multiple murders in Ventura and Orange counties in the 1980s.
In what may be the biggest break in the case so far, investigators now believe that traces of paint found at several crime scenes could be the key lead they've been looking for.
"Sheriff’s investigators have reviewed the crime reports from other agencies and discovered that traces of paint were located in two of the rapes and one of the homicide scenes in Irvine," Hoover said. "This evidence is believed to have come from the suspect in all three cases.
"Investigators are now exploring the possibility that the suspect may have come to the area to work on a construction site, possibly as a painter."
Hoover said a section of the Calle Real Shopping Center — 5801 Calle Real and the then-Longs Drugs at 5875 Calle Real — initially had a building permit issued to a Sacramento-area developer in early 1979.
She said the final stages of the construction project, which would have included painting the buildings, occurred during the same time frame as the 1979 Offerman-Manning murders.
Anyone who knows someone who either worked on the Calle Real construction site or has any information about employees who worked on the project is encouraged to call the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Bureau at 805.681.4150 or the Anonymous Tip Line at 805.681.4171.
A Santa Barbara woman was hospitalized early on Sept. 11 after her car sideswiped a parked vehicle and overturned on the Westside. According to police, the woman had looked down to read a text message just before the collision.
Sgt. Riley Harwood said the crash occurred just before 3 a.m. when the woman's Toyota RAV4 struck a Jeep Cherokee and rolled over in the 500 block of West Junipero Street.
Charissa Campbell, 28, was examined at the scene by paramedics, then taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment. No one else was injured.
The crash remains under investigation, but Harwood said Campbell may be cited for making an unsafe movement with her vehicle. He said Campbell told officers she looked down at a text message on her cell phone right before the crash.
A 13-year-old Santa Maria girl was walking to school Sept. 9 when a man approached her and offered her $500 for sex. Not only did she refuse and run away, she immediately reported the creeper to police.
Sgt. Russell Mengel said officers got the call around 8:30 a.m. and sped to the 400 block of North Thornburg Street to search for the suspect.
Not long afterward, officers came across a man matching the girl's description and took him into custody.
Angel Hernandez Mendez of Santa Maria was arrested on charges of attempted lewd acts with a child and booked into the County Jail.
The girl was not hurt in the encounter.
It's been a long, long, long time coming, but the Hideaway Bungalows project is about to welcome its first residents at the 101-unit development in western Goleta.
Starting as The Residences at Sandpiper in the 1990s and later as Haskell's Landing, the project had seen its share of twists and turns before the latest iteration was approved in 2009.
Prices at the Chadmar Group development range from $637,000 for two-bedroom, two-bath units in triplexes up to $1.01 million for a four-bedroom, detached single-family home. Ten of the units are set aside as affordable.
The first phase of the project — located at 7900 Hollister Ave. across from Sandpiper Golf Club — is expected to be completed in mid-November, according to sales director Lorie Bartron. The sales office and model units are open daily.
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(Edward Heising video)
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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.