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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 5:31 pm | Fair 62º


3 Dead in Orcutt Homicide; Suspect Fatally Shot By Sheriff’s Deputies

Law enforcement responded to report of "bloody scene" at Oakhill Estates home, and neighborhood residents were advised to shelter in place

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The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is investigating multiple homicides and the officer-involved fatal shooting of a suspect that occurred Friday night.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

This story was most recently updated at 7:40 a.m. Saturday.

Three people were found dead and the suspected killer was shot by Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies Friday night at a house in Oakhill Estates in southern Orcutt.

Early Saturday, it was reported that the suspect had been pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Deputies were dispatched at about 8 p.m. to the 5900 block of Oakhill Drive, off Graciosa Road about a half-mile south of Highway 135/Orcutt Expressway, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Dispatchers were called by a person who entered her home on Oakhilll Drive and “found a bloody scene inside,” Hoover said. “She discovered a victim covered in blood in a bathtub, fled the residence and called for help.”

Responding ​deputies determined that a man armed with a rifle was inside the house, and there were likely multiple injured victims in the residence.

“It became a situation where they needed to go in and rescue the people who were inside the home,” Hoover said.

She said deputies contacted the armed subject and “were in a position where they had to shoot the subject in order to subdue him.”

Sheriff's Special Enforcement Team deputies entered the house and during a “confrontation” with the suspect, the man was “initially shot with less-lethal munitions, followed by the use of deadly force,” she said in a statement early Saturday.

The wounded man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead early Saturday, Hoover said.

Deputies searched the residence and discovered three bodies inside, which are all believed to be homicide victims, she said.

The identities and ages of the victims and suspect were not released Friday night. Authorities did not reveal the relationship between the suspect and the victims or a possible motive for the killings.

The person who reported the incident to dispatchers escaped the house and apparently was not injured, Hoover said.

“At this point we don’t have any information there is any public safety threat,” she said late Friday.

“This appears to be a situation where it was isolated to this residence. It’s still very early, but at this time and this point it appears to be a very tragic situation.”

Due to the report of an armed man inside the home, the county Office of Emergency Management sent out messages telling residents of the Oakhill Estates neighborhood to “shelter in place until further notice.”

The Sheriff’s Department set up a command post at a nearby church on East Rice Ranch Road, and a Bearcat armored vehicle responded to the scene.

Several roads were blocked off, preventing even residents from reaching their homes.

As of 11 p.m., a line of residents waited along Rice Ranch Road to get into the neighborhood as nighttime temperatures dipped into the 30s. The shelter in place advisory was lifted just before midnight.

Investigators were expected to stay at the scene all night, and multiple investigations will occur since the incident involved homicides and an officer-involved shooting, Hoover said.

Check back with Noozhawk for updates to this story.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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