May 7 – Santa Barbara
Ernesto Lopez, 23, and Augustine Cruz, 21, locally notorious as members of Santa Barbara’s Eastsiders gang, were arrested on April 30th on charges of parole violation and resisting arrest.
But, according to Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Sergeant Riley Harwood, what makes the arrest of Cruz and Lopez of particular import are the events on an Eastside residential street the night before, when a spectacular rollover accident involving a black sedan careening into a telephone pole support cable occurred.
As SBPD units arrived at the accident scene, Harwood reported to the media, “we received a 911 call that the vehicle had been carjacked at gunpoint.” Officers on scene reported that the vehicle’s occupants were nowhere to be seen, apparently having fled on foot prior to the arrival of patrol units.
While a search of the surrounding area was made for the vehicle’s occupants, “another call reporting possible shots fired at the scene of another traffic accident” on a nearby street was received, as reported by Harwood. Police units responding to that scene found an SUV “heavily damaged, but the damage appeared unrelated to the collision”, he said. Witnesses reported that the occupants of the SUV had entered a private residence nearby, whereupon SBPD units established a perimeter securing egress from the house.
At that point, Harwood reported, “Cruz was spotted attempting to flee the area,” and officers followed in pursuit, ultimately finding Cruz hiding in a nearby creek bed. K-9 units were called to the scene, and Cruz was apprehended by Hondo, an SBPD German shepherd. Suffering dog bites, and a stab wound of undetermined cause, Cruz was arrested and transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for treatment.
Officers searched the residence identified by witnesses of the second vehicle crash, and Lopez was arrested on parole violation charges.
Both men were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on a no bail hold, pending “the ongoing investigation into the carjacking and other aspects of the case,” according to Harwood.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
keyt.com: Santa Barbara Carjacking Leads to Strange Night of Crime
KCOY: Santa Barbara Carjacking Leads Police to Gang Fight, Two Arrested