A quiet neighborhood near San Marcos High School erupted in chaos early Saturday during an incident that culminated in sheriff’s deputies shooting and critically wounding a man they said threatened them with a gun.
Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s dispatchers received several 9-1-1 calls from the area of Andrita and Rosemead streets, a neighborhood of single-family homes a block off Turnpike Road south of Hollister Avenue, said sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Williams.
The callers reported hearing multiple gunshots as well as seeing people running from the area.
Deputies conducting a traffic stop nearby heard the gunshots themselves, and immediately responded, Williams said.
When they arrived in the 4700 block of Andrita Street, Williams said, they found a man with a handgun standing in the front yard of a house. The man confronted the deputies, at which point several shots were fired and the suspect was struck, Williams said.
The man was transported by ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and admitted in critical condition, Williams said.
The suspect’s identity was being withheld, he said, and an update on his condition was not available later Saturday.
On Sunday afternoon, Williams identified the suspect as Gerardo Martinez, 27, of Goleta, and said he is in custody at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and listed in stable condition. He said Martinez is being held on charges of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer with a semiautomatic handgun, and a criminal gang enhancement. His bail is set at $300,000.
Among those who heard the commotion Saturday was Halani Cabugos, a 13-year-old La Colina Junior High School student who lives with her parents on Andrita Street.
“I was woken up by my dog barking, and so I opened up my window to tell him to be quiet,” Halani said Saturday morning as she and other residents watched from a distance, behind yellow police tape, as investigators continued their work.
“Then (I heard) one shot with some screaming, and then three more shots after that,” she continued.
Doug Williams, a Goleta Water District employee who lives down the street from where the incident occurred, said he just happened to be up about 3 a.m., and stepped outside his home.
He gave this account of what happened:
“A white car came around the corner with its music super loud, driving really slow.
“It had some Latino music, just really loud, and so it caught my eye, and I watched it go down to the house down there on the corner. Then it was pretty quiet, actually.
“The next thing I know, just yelling and screaming and baseball bats being taken to a car down there, smashing the windows, the door panels. Lots of screaming, and then fights breaking out, coming all the way down to Ashdale (Street) here.
“Chasing guys, guys running down the street, little fights breaking out. Guys jumping in their cars, speeding away.
“And then, all of a sudden, small-arms fire going off, about 15 shots.
“A cop car pulls up, a lone cop pulls up ... jumps out, and gets his assault rifle out of the trunk, and then zooms down there (toward the house where the incident occurred).
“The shooting had stopped and I hear him yell, ‘Everybody get down,’ and about three seconds later, he fires off like five shots.
Doug Williams said he heard but did not see the shooting. He said he also heard some of those involved shouting gang slogans.
“That pretty much put an end to everything, except a lot of cops then three minutes later, a lot of cops show up, and they surround the house,” he said.
“And they bull-horned a bunch of people out, a bunch of girls came out, and they spent the rest of the evening just trying to get people to come out, and chasing guys down, and I saw some tear gas, some big smoke.”
He added that he does not think the owner of the home was there at the time of the incident, which he believes may have involved a daughter or granddaughter and a boyfriend.
Sgt. Williams said deputies conducted an intense search of the area, deploying the sheriff’s SWAT team and a county Air Support helicopter, in an attempt to locate other possible suspects or victims.
The Sheriff’s Department also made a reverse notification 9-1-1 call to the neighborhood, asking residents to remain indoors during the search.
Several people were detained and were being questioned in the incident, Sgt. Williams said.
As part of the investigation, sheriff’s detectives will try to determine the circumstances of the shooting, including how many shots were fired and by whom, he said.
Halani’s mother, Carolyn Cabugos, said she and her family have lived on Andrita Street for more than 12 years, and nothing like this has happened there before. She said her family got another scare when someone fleeing the incident came onto their property.
“Someone tried to jump behind our yard, then our dog started barking,” Cabugos said. “So then he thrashed, and I think they caught him a yard over.
“It was very crazy ... especially when you see SWAT teams, helicopters over head. It was nuts last night.
“There was a guy that almost jumped in the back of our yard. That was scary.”
Investigators remained on the scene throughout the day — with the streets cordoned off — and were expected to continue their work through Saturday night, Sgt. Williams said.
Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen contributed to this report.