Thursday, April 19 , 2018, 10:46 pm | Fair and Breezy 58º


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Homicide Suspect in Custody in Simpson’s Slaying

21-year-old Santa Barbara man arrested Sunday, held without bail as Arroyo Burro Beach murder investigation continues

A 21-year-old Santa Barbara man has been arrested on suspicion of homicide in last week’s slashing death of Robert Burke Simpson, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department announced late Monday afternoon.

Sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars said detectives arrested Rudy Gallegos, 21, of Santa Barbara, as they served a search warrant at his residence Sunday. Sugars said detectives have been aware of Gallegos’ whereabouts since shortly after Simpson was attacked at Arroyo Burro Beach, 2981 Cliff Drive, about 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Gallegos, who is being held without bail at County Jail, is the third person taken into custody in connection with the case. Brittany Danielle Weiler, 19, of Santa Barbara, was arrested Friday and a 17-year-old girl was arrested the next day, both as alleged accessories to murder. Weiler is also in County Jail on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. The juvenile is at Juvenile Hall.

Sugars said Gallegos’ booking photograph will not be released at this time, as the department is still looking for more suspects in the case. Further information about the man was not immediately available. A MySpace search for “Rudy Gallegos, Santa Barbara” returns a private page for a 21-year-old man who appears to be flashing a gang sign and calls himself “WICK3D ASS LIL RASCAL.”

Sheriff’s detectives are continuing the search for other suspects who may be connected to the crime. Anyone with information related to the slaying or its aftermath is asked to contact detectives at 805.681.4150. Witnesses coming forward have already been extremely helpful in piecing together the evening’s events, and Sugars urges people to call in even if they’re not sure their information has any bearing.

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

“We really appreciate people having patience with us,” Sugars told Noozhawk. “We’re not in a position to give a play-by-play of what our detectives have been up to, but they’ve been working around the clock since the incident, and still are.”

The Sheriff’s Department believes the homicide was an isolated incident but not a completely random one, as it appears to be the result of an altercation, Sugars said.

“We don’t believe the public is in great danger,” he said.

Whether there is a connection or history between Simpson and Gallegos is unknown at this time. 

Simpson, 44, was stabbed during an altercation near the grassy picnic area at the popular beach. Witnesses say the Mesa resident was attempting to break up a fight when a young man ran up behind him and slit his throat.

Authorities estimated that several hundred people were in the park at the time of the confrontation, with the Boathouse Restaurant packed with patrons and the Surfrider Foundation’s Santa Barbara chapter holding an event nearby.

Several people rushed to Simpson’s aid but he died of his wounds.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk.

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