Javier Hernandez III

Santa Barbara police have arrested two men on assault charges related to Monday’s gang-related stabbing in downtown Santa Barbara.

Javier Hernandez III of Oxnard and Juan Jose Vasquez of Goleta, both 18, were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Sgt. Riley Harwood said Tuesday.

The victim, a 31-year-old Santa Barbara man whose name was not released, suffered a non-life threatening stab wound to his back, and was treated on scene by paramedics, Harwood said.

Police responded about 1 p.m. Monday to multiple reports of a fight taking place on the first block of West Carrillo Street, Harwood said.

One of the callers reported that an assault with a knife was taking place, and all involved parties fled after the incident, Harwood said.

Witnesses provided descriptions of the suspects and the direction they traveled, and they were taken into custody at the intersection of State and Carrillo streets, Harwood said.

The victim and a companion were located on the 900 block of Anacapa Street, he said.

Further investigation revealed that the altercation began when the victim and his companion were walking in the Paseo Nuevo Mall and were confronted by a group of subjects that included Hernandez and Vasquez, Harwood said.

Juan Jose Vasquez

“A witness heard words and saw gang hand signs being exchanged between the subjects,” Harwood said. “The victim and his companion were subsequently followed out to the street, and a fight ensued on the 00 block of West Carrillo Street, during which the victim was stabbed.”

Harwood said a witness heard the name of a Santa Barbara-area gang being shouted during the altercation, and the investigation indicated that Hernandez and Vasquez were involved in the stabbing.

Hernandez and Vasquez were both booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, he said. Bail for each was set at $30,000. 

Harwood said the investigation was ongoing, so additional details were being withheld.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at gpotthoff@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.