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Bill Macfadyen: Shooting Death Near Santa Barbara High School Shrouded in Mystery

Weather storms in to NoozWeek's Top 5, along with a mother's fears about her daughter's rapist, an apparent suicide, and a Goleta fender-bender

What were you reading on Noozhawk this past week?

1. Victim Reported Dead After Eastside Santa Barbara Shooting

Santa Barbara police are investigating the Feb. 19 shooting death of a 21-year-old man who was found gunned down in the 1000 block of Olive Street. No arrests have been made and police won’t say whether the shooting was gang-related.

Sgt. Riley Harwood, an SBPD spokesman, said the dead man’s name and other details are being withheld so the investigation won’t be jeopardized.

The shooting happened about 7:15 p.m. on the rainy Tuesday night, not far from Santa Barbara High School. The victim, who was shot multiple times, was treated at the scene by paramedics and transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

2. Wild Week of Cold Weather Is on the Way to Santa Barbara County

The National Weather Service warned that a very cold Pacific storm hurtling from the Gulf of Alaska could wreak havoc on Santa Barbara County, beginning Feb. 18. Drizzle, rain, thunderstorms, snow, ice and gusty winds were all expected to make an appearance. I hate to be cold so I wasn’t at all unhappy that much of the forecast turned out to be more mild than wild.

3. A Mother’s Fears Awakened by Sexual Predator’s Possible Release

Top criminal justice officials from Santa Barbara and Placer counties are — rightfully — battling each other to keep a convicted violent sexual predator from being released back into communities in their jurisdictions. In an exclusive interview with Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton, the mother of Tibor Karsai’s first known rape victim resolutely explained why he shouldn’t be freed at all.

Now 59, Karsai served separate prison sentences for two vicious rapes, one in Santa Barbara in 1974 and the other eight years later in Placer County. In 1998, he was committed to a state mental hospital in Placerville and a judge ordered his conditional release in 2010. District Attorney Joyce Dudley has asked the state Supreme Court to intervene and keep Karsai far away from these parts, even though he has family in Santa Maria.

The mere thought of Karsai returning to the scene of his crime prompted a Goleta woman to speak out, an act she said she was taking because her daughter “is not alive to speak for herself.” The woman, who requested that Noozhawk not identify her by name to protect her family’s privacy, said her daughter was a vibrant and carefree 19-year-old when Karsai followed her home from a laundromat and brutally assaulted her.

Overnight, the mother said, her daughter was transformed into a tormented, haunted and aimless young woman on a downward spiral that could only have one outcome. In 1985, just before her 30th birthday, she drowned herself at Haskell’s Beach.

“Not only did I see it coming, but I couldn’t do anything about it,” her mother said.

After 30 years as a mental-health professional, her mother has vowed to spend her retirement years working to ensure that “other people’s children not have this happen to them.” She wants to close the gap between what the law requires and the ability of psychiatric professionals to treat violent sexual predators like Karsai.

The mother said she believes that Karsai and others of his ilk cannot be rehabilitated and inevitably will attack again. She’s not just opposed to his release locally, “it’s being released on this Earth,” she said.

“The only treatment is when they pass away,” she added.

Frankly, that day can’t come soon enough.

4. Suicide Suspected After UCSB Student Found Dead at Dorm

A 20-year-old UC Santa Barbara student was found dead in a dorm room at San Rafael Residence Hall on Feb. 19, and Santa Barbara County County sheriff’s officials believe the incident may be a suicide. The dead man’s name has not been released and toxicology report results are not yet available.

5. Two Hurt in Two-Vehicle Accident in Goleta

As fender-benders go, it wasn’t much. But a Feb. 18 two-vehicle accident in Goleta sure had readers speeding to Noozhawk. The crash occurred about 12:30 p.m. in front of Denny’s Restaurant in the 5600 block of Calle Real near Kellogg Avenue. One person from each vehicle was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment of moderate and minor injuries. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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