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Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 4:36 am | Fair 43º


Suspect in Chapala Street Disturbance Dies in Hospital

The man reportedly fought with his girlfriend in their apartment, then fell over a balcony railing and later was Tasered by police

A man at the center of a bizarre disturbance on Chapala Street has died after two days in critical condition at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Duane Chapman, 44, died Thursday morning, after a fight, a fall and a struggle with police Tuesday evening, Santa Barbara police Lt. Paul McCaffrey said in a statement.

Several people called 9-1-1 about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to report a disturbance at 26 Chapala St., where Chapman lived in an upstairs apartment with his long-term girlfriend. It’s unclear why, but the pair began fighting.

“During the fight, furniture and personal property in the apartment were broken and Chapman became covered in blood,” according to the police statement.

Chapman’s girlfriend tried to get away, but he blocked the door, and the woman sustained injuries to her face, arms and legs. Two men who knew the pair tried to intervene and forced the door open, and his girlfriend escaped.

“Chapman fought with these two men and reportedly tried to bite them,” the statement said. “The two men broke free and went to another apartment unit for safety.”

The statement said Chapman went onto the balcony covered with blood and was holding a large inflatable exercise ball. Bouncing back and forth against the fence railing, Chapman reportedly flipped over the top of the railing and landed on patio furniture beneath.

He got up and was pacing the parking lot when a Santa Barbara police officer arrived on the scene. At that point, witnesses reported that Chapman was holding a piece of metal in his hand, about 8 inches long, in his hand like a knife. Chapman advanced toward the officer, swinging the piece of metal. The officer backed away and ordered Chapman to sit down.

“Chapman advanced so suddenly that one witness believed the officer was stabbed with the piece of metal,” according to the police statement.

The officer fired his Taser. The statement said it was unclear whether the Taser actually hit Chapman, but it did not have an effect on him. Additional officers arrived on the scene and handcuffed Chapman while he continued kicking. He was in medical distress when American Medical Response arrived on the scene and was transported to Cottage Hospital, where he was admitted into the intensive-care unit in critical condition.

He was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m. Thursday.

McCaffrey said police recovered about a pound of cut marijuana in the apartment, along with scales and related paraphernalia. The exact cause of death is pending, and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office will conduct a toxilogical screen to determine whether drugs or alcohol were a factor.

As with any police action resulting in a death, according to McCaffrey, the case will be reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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