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Chaotic Scene as Deputies Critically Wound Man with Gun Near San Marcos High

Neighbors report hearing multiple gunshots, and seeing fights and people fleeing in all directions

By Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor | @tombol | updated logo 10.07.2012 4:30 p.m. |

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.

Sheriff's investigators look for evidence at the corner of Andrita and Rosemead streets near San Marcos High School following an incident in which a suspect was shot and critically wounded by deputies early Saturday. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
Sheriff’s investigators look for evidence at the corner of Andrita and Rosemead streets near San Marcos High School following an incident in which a suspect was shot and critically wounded by deputies early Saturday. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

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.”

'(I heard) one shot with some screaming, and then three more shots after that,' said Halani Cabugos, 13, who lives down the street from where the shooting occurred. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)
’(I heard) one shot with some screaming, and then three more shots after that,’ said Halani Cabugos, 13, who lives down the street from where the shooting occurred. (Tom Bolton / Noozhawk photo)

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.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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» on 10.07.12 @ 04:46 AM

In answer to Wally’s question, the girl who was interviewed was not a direct witness, and almost certainly will not be testifying in court in this case. She was simply describing her own scary experience stemming from this incident, and did so only after I asked her mother whether it was OK to interview her and take her photograph.

Please understand that my job as a journalist is to try to give the fullest possible account of what happened. That means talking to people who were there, and sharing what they had to say with our readers.

Law enforcement often has its own reasons for limiting the information it puts out about such incidents, and I respect that, but that is no reason for me not to do my job and provide the information our readers want and need.

It’s hard to imagine that anything that was included in this story will have any impact on a future court case. Our court system has many ways of ensuring that the proceedings are fair to all involved.

There are times when law enforcement asks us to withhold specific details in a criminal case, especially when it might endanger an investigation or put someone at risk, and we pretty much honor those requests. That did not happen on this story.

Law enforcement was well aware that I was there doing interviews and taking pictures for this story.

The interest in this incident has been huge, and many readers have expressed thanks to us for providing the fullest possible account of what happened.

I hope this answers your question, Wally.

— Tom Bolton
Executive Editor
Noozhawk.com

» on 10.07.12 @ 05:45 PM

TraLaLa & SBLOGIC,

While I understand the concerns you have shared, I think it’s important to point out that these people agreed to be interviewed and photographed, with the understanding that their names and photos would be published.

In each case I identified myself as a Noozhawk reporter and gave them my business card before I started asking questions. With the teenage girl, I asked her mother if it was OK to interview her daughter and take her picture.

They spelled their names for me and freely shared what they had observed.

They could just as easily have refused to talk, or asked that their names or photos not be used. Those requests typically are honored.

In both these cases, the individuals involved—or members of their family—also spoke publicly with other media.

You can argue that they were ill-advised to do so, but it seems to me it was their decision to make. They have a right to be heard if they so choose.

Asking journalists to make that decision for them seems like kind of a slippery slope.

—Tom Bolton
Executive Editor
Noozhawk.com

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