SANTA BARBARA – A neighborhood brawl between members of two warring gangs left a teenager with multiple stab wounds Wednesday night.
At 9 p.m. Feb. 16, Santa Barbara police responded to a 911 call reporting a stabbing victim on the front porch of a west side home. Paramedics arrived to find a local 17-year-old gang member suffering from multiple stab wounds, and transported him Cottage Hospital where he was admitted in stable condition.
Police gang unit investigators learned from witnesses that the victim had been in the company of three other gang members on the sidewalk when the group was challenged by several individuals cruising the streets in a light-colored SUV.
“The victim’s gang affiliation compelled them to answer the challenge,” said department spokesman Lt. Paul McCaffrey, which led those in the SUV to alight and confront the quartet on the sidewalk.
At that point a violent confrontation erupted as the victim’s group assaulted the SUV with rocks and chunks of broken concrete, the sounds of which led some neighbors to mistakenly believe they were hearing gunfire. After a brief hand-to-hand fight, the assailants fled in the SUV.
With information provided by neighborhood witnesses, investigators soon located the victim’s three companions several blocks away. Daniel Gallegos, 18, and Juan Gomez, 20, were booked into Santa Barbara County jail on charges of fighting in furtherance of a criminal street gang. The third member of the group, age 14, was released to his parents pending a juvenile court criminal complaint.
“We’re still seeking information about the suspects in the SUV,” McCaffrey said, indicating that any information should be reported to police detectives at (805) 897-2335.