After a deluge of rain Monday, the lingering cold weather probably claimed the life of a homeless man overnight, social worker Ken Williams told Noozhawk Tuesday morning.

Temperatures hovered in the mid-40s Monday night. The man became the 28th homeless person to die in Santa Barbara since the year began.

Williams said the man, a Marine veteran in his 50s who went by the name “Freedom,” was confined to a wheelchair because of various illnesses.

Williams said that many fear for even more deaths as the storms line up and the cold temperatures continue.

“I shudder to think of him sitting in that chair as his core body temperature plummeted,” Williams said, adding that he hopes this is last death of a homeless person he’ll report this year. “His infectious sense of humor was contagious … I will miss him as will many others.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at

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