Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 1:29 am | Fair 55º


Local News

4 Arrested in Franklin Clinic Gang Incident

Police disperse crowd of suspected gang members awaiting rival gang members being treated inside

A row outside the Franklin Clinic, 1136 E. Montecito St., resulted in the arrest of four people Friday afternoon.

Saul Antonio Cruz
Saul Antonio Cruz

About 3 p.m. Friday, Santa Barbara police officers were called to disperse a group of 20 suspected gang members and associates who had gathered around the clinic run by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. According to the police report, some of the individuals dispersed while others remained nearby.

Meanwhile, other officers learned from clinic personnel that possible members of a rival gang were inside receiving treatment. According to police, the suspected gang members outside had become aware of who was inside. Both parties exchanged hand signs and gestures, and those outside the clinic positioned themselves near the exits. Police then escorted the suspected gang members inside the clinic to their car and stood watch as they drove away.

The arrests happened while police were dispersing the crowd that had remained at the clinic. One individual started taking pictures of the officers with his cellphone, a police officer noticed and started taking pictures of the suspected gang members. One of the individuals, Saul Antonio Cruz, 19, tried to take the officer’s cellphone away and was arrested for attempted robbery, resisting an officer, battery on a peace officer, and participation in a criminal street gang.

Police also arrested Joaquin Perez, 19, who was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of resisting or delaying a police officer. A 16-year-old was booked into Juvenile Hall for battery on a peace officer for chest-bumping an officer who was instructing him to leave the area. A 15-year-old was arrested for failure to comply and for challenging a police officer. He was later released to the care of his mother.

Three officers were dispatched to the clinic initially but five more were sent to provide backup. There were no injuries in the incident. In a statement, Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte, a department spokesman, commended Franklin Clinic personnel for locking down the facility and calling police, an action that “contributed to the protection of all patients inside of the clinic.”

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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