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Montecito Man Arrested on Santa Barbara-Area School Campus After Law Enforcement Pursuit

Wireless Emergency Alert urging 'shelter in place' erroneously sent to all of Santa Barbara County

Paramedics tend to a man who was injured during his pursuit and capture. Click to view larger
Paramedics tend to a man who was injured during his pursuit and capture Wednesday in Santa Barbara. Authorities say the man was chased twice by law enforcement. (Peter Hartmann / Noozhawk photo)

A Montecito man was arrested on a school campus Wednesday afternoon after twice leading Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department deputies on a pursuit authorities said.

The suspect fled from deputies Tuesday night in Summerland after they tried to pull him over for a traffic violation, and Wednesday’s pursuit started around 4 p.m. after deputies saw a vehicle in Goleta that matched the description of the one involved in Tuesday’s chase.

Deputies tried to pull over the driver in the area of Fairview Avenue and Hollister Avenue, and the man was “driving recklessly” through Goleta to the unincorporated area near Highway 154, Hoover said.

The man drove into the Hope Elementary School parking lot at 3970 La Colina Road, and then got out of his car and jumped a fence, but was arrested on the recreational field, near Bishop Diego High School, Hoover said.

“He was apprehended by sheriff’s deputies at gunpoint,” she said.

The man was identified late Wednesday as Michael McCann, 46, of Montecito. He was booked into County Jail on charges of felony pursuit and was held on $75,000 bail, Hoover said.

Santa Barbara police spokesman Anthony Wagner said earlier Wednesday that the pursuit had involved an armed robbery suspect, but that was not confirmed by the Sheriff’s Department.

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating whether the man is connected to armed robbery cases in Carpinteria, and deputies were concerned the man may have been armed in the case of Wednesday’s pursuit, Hoover said.

The county dispatch center sent a Wireless Emergency Alert countywide regarding the pursuit around 4:35 p.m., which said, “Pursuit ended in your area with police activity, shelter in place.” 

Ambulance and sheriff’s patrol vehicle. Click to view larger
An ambulance and a sheriff’s deputy stand by at Hope Elementary School in Santa Barbara on Wednesday after a man was arrested following a pursuit. (Peter Hartmann / Noozhawk photo)

The alert was meant to go out to the impacted area, but was mistakenly sent countywide, Hoover said.

She said the alert was sent because the suspect was possibly armed and on school property, adding that there were children on campus at the time for after-school activities. 

“We apologize for any...alarm or panic it caused, but we definitely are glad that the impacted area was alerted right away,” she said.

The Sheriff’s Department is investigating how the alert got sent out to such a wide area, Hoover added.

A follow-up message was sent at 4:50 p.m. saying, “suspect in custody no further danger.”  

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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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