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Attempted-Murder Suspect Re-Arrested after Minivan Set Ablaze on Lower Eastside

Ronald Anthony Beltran, 39, of Santa Barbara, was already facing charges in Jan. 5 stabbing, car theft and had been held without bail

A deliberately set vehicle fire Sunday afternoon on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside led to the re-arrest of a 39-year-old man who already was facing attempted-murder and other charges from an incident earlier this month.

Ronald Anthony Beltran
Ronald Anthony Beltran

Ronald Anthony Beltran was taken into custody on charges of arson, felony brandishing of a weapon, and possession of a deadly weapon, said Lt. Jim Pfleging of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

He said the incident began about 2:30 p.m., when city firefighters were called to the area of Gutierrez and Quarantina streets, where a minivan was on fire.

A short time later, relatives of Beltran called police to say he was planning to set his vehicle on fire, and wanted a police officer to kill him, Pfleging said.

About 10 minutes after the initial call, Beltran was located near Cota Street, and officers pursued him into Ortega Park.

"As he was being chased, he stopped and intimated that he had weapon," Pfleging said. "He reached for his belt, then took off running again."

Moments later, one of the pursuing officers fired a taser, which dropped Beltran to the ground, and he was arrested, said Pfleging, who added that Beltran was found to be in possession of a knife.

Beltran already was facing attempted-murder, auto-theft and other charges following a Jan. 5 fight with a family member.

In that incident, officers responded to a report of a vehicle stolen from a residence in the 1100 block of North Milpas Street, Sgt. Riley Harwood said.

A resident told police that his relative, Beltran, who also lived in the house, had stolen his truck after stabbing him during an altercation earlier in the day.

An investigation revealed that Beltran had attacked the victim while he was in the shower, brandishing a knife and threatening to kill him. The victim was stabbed twice, leaving superficial wounds on his back, Harwood said.

With assistance from another relative, he said the victim was able to fight off Beltran, who fled the scene.

The victim did not report the incident to the police, Harwood said, and he continued with personal business that required him to leave the house.

When he got back about 9 p.m., his truck was missing, and another relative told him that Beltran had returned to the house to take the victim’s keys and vehicle, Harwood said.

Later that night, the California Highway Patrol informed police dispatch that the stolen truck had been involved in a single-vehicle collision and then abandoned near the 700 block of Old Coast Highway and Highway 101.

Officers eventually located Beltran, and took him into custody.

In that case, Beltran was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, auto theft, hit and run, and resisting or delaying an officer, Harwood said.

However, the charge filed against him in court was assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury, not attempted murder, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter.

Beltran originally was held without bail, but he was released Jan. 9 after posting $90,000 bail, Harwood said.

Beltran was being held Monday at the Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $500,000, according to Kelly Hoover, a county Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

Santa Barbara firefighters douse flames in a minivan that was deliberately set on fire Sunday afternoon near Ortega Park, allegedly by Ronald Anthony Beltran. (Urban Hikers photo)

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