Large Crowd Witnesses Tense Confrontation Between Police and Suspects
Santa Barbara police arrested two adult and three juvenile suspects Friday evening after they allegedly robbed two people on bicycles in the Milpas Street area. Two guns were recovered in the arrest.
According to SBPD spokesperson Anthony Wagner, a witness to one of the robberies flagged down an officer, who pulled over the suspect car ― described as a “tan coupe” ― in the Milpas Liquor Deli shopping complex next to Trader Joe’s. The officer ordered the occupants out at gunpoint and multiple police units arrived as backup. The suspects were taken into custody without incident and identified as Lompoc residents. Citing the ongoing investigation, Wagner said he could not release additional details.
Independent contributor Gareth Kelly filmed the arrests. Kelly said approximately 30 people were witness to the incident. The crowd, he said, kept shouting that the suspects were young and that officers should “take it easy.” “There was one guy filming who kept shouting at the cops that this was unnecessary and over the top, and how people who don’t live in the neighborhood spread rumors that the neighborhood is dangerous,” Kelly said.
VIDEO | Two Adults, Three Juveniles Arrested for Milpas Armed Robberies
“The guy later got into an altercation with one of the officers, who was trying to provide some context for the show of force,” Kelly said. “Both he and the cop were apparently related, but the guy said: ‘“We’re not related when it comes to this stuff.’”
Kelly said the mood of the crowd was “very relaxed, almost joking.” “In fact,” he said, “some of the crowd made ‘pop, pop’ noises, which I didn’t think was cool.” The police were tense and “on edge,” he said. “They were very much aware they were being watched and filmed.”
Last week, Santa Barbara officers were involved in the fatal shooting of alleged Eastside gang member Francisco Anthony Alacarz Jr. The following Wednesday, a man was shot in an altercation on Chapala Street. There is no indication any of the incidents are related.
Kelly said police arrested all five suspects from the car within approximately 30 minutes. “When I left, the area had been taped off and the car was wide open,” he said. “Numerous officers were still on scene in a discussion.”
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