Robert Burke Simpson

Robert Burke Simpson

A 44-year-old Santa Barbara man has been identified as the victim in a fatal stabbing Thursday evening at Arroyo Burro Beach, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department said late Friday afternoon. Authorities are still searching for a suspect and witnesses in the homicide case, which remains under investigation.

Robert Burke Simpson, 44, of Santa Barbara, died of a stab wound to the neck received in an apparent fight, which was reported to authorities just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the beach, 2981 Cliff Drive. Sheriff’s deputies and Santa Barbara police responded after multiple 9-1-1 calls from the scene, also known as Hendry’s Beach, near the Boathouse Restaurant.

Several hundred people were congregated in the parking lot and nearby areas when officers arrived. The victim was bleeding from his wounds and paramedics transported him to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he died.

Sheriff’s detectives and members of the department’s Forensics Bureau, assisted by Santa Barbara police, worked through the night and all day Friday gathering evidence and witness statements, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

Because of the large crowd that was present at the time of the incident, and the proliferation of digital recording devices, detectives are asking anyone who may have recorded video at the scene or anyone who has any information, to contact them at 805.681.4150.

Witnesses wishing to remain anonymous can leave a message on the the sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 805.681.4171.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.