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Van Tassel Hearing Rescheduled for April 9

The suspect in the La Cumbre Road bridge standoff currently is under the care of the VA's Los Angeles facility.

EdwardKyle Joseph Van Tassel, who snarled traffic for hours while allegedly brandishing a gun on the La Cumbre Road overpass in November, appeared in Santa Barbara Superior Court on Thursday morning only to have Judge Brian Hill reschedule his preliminary hearing to April 9.

Van Tassel brought the morning commute to a standstill Nov. 3 as he paced back and forth waving an unloaded gun on the bridge over Highway 101 near Calle Real. The 28-year-old Santa Barbara man said he was protesting the Iraq War and demonstrating in favor of Barack Obama, who was elected the next day. There were no injuries in the four-hour standoff.

Aaron Levy, 33, also of Santa Barbara, who is being charged as an accomplice in the case for driving Van Tassel to the overpass, also appeared in court Thursday. Preliminary hearings for both men are now scheduled for April 9.

Van Tassel is currently being held at the Veteran’s Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare facility and being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.  He was initially diagnosed with PTSD after arriving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington after being honorably discharged from his tour of Iraq in 2005.

“At this point, Edward’s treatment is more important than any legal proceeding that might come out of this,” defense attorney Robert Landheer said outside the courtroom. He said he was unsure what the outcome of the April 9 hearing might bring and added that Van Tassel’s condition would dictate speed at which the case moves forward.

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