The public is being asked to help find a Santa Barbara man suspected of stabbing two people Wednesday afternoon along Highway 154, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.
The incident was reported at about 3:40 p.m. on the 1500 block of Highway 154, near San Antonio Creek Road, in an unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County, sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.
The suspect is Gabriel Nicholas Rivera, 47, who has had several contacts with law enforcement, and most recently was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on a probation violation in January, Hoover said.
The two male victims, who were acquaintances of Rivera, were taken to a local hospital and treated for their injuries, Hoover said, adding that the stabbings followed a verbal dispute that occurred among the three men.
Sheriff's deputies and firefighters responded to the scene, along with paramedics.
One victim was stabbed in the torso and one in the arm, according to emergency radio traffic, and both were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
"When sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene, they located the victims in a black pick-up truck along Highway 154, and the search began for the suspect," Hoover said.
The weapon used reportedly was a stiletto or pocket knife.
Rivera was last seen wearing brown or yellow shorts, hiking boots, no shirt and an eye patch, Hoover said. He was described as Hispanic, 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, Hoover said.
On Wednesday afternoon, a sheriff's deputy parked his motorcycle in front of a cluster of mailboxes to block the entrance to a long lane that led to a residential area where authorities were conducting the search.
Hoover could not say whether the suspect still had a knife.
"It is an active search," she said at late afternoon. "We're not sure if this suspect is armed."
Anyone who spots Rivera is urged to immediately call 911. Anyone with information about his possible whereabouts or the crime that occurred is asked to call the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division at 805.681.4150.
Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff reported from the scene.