August 4 – Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara County law enforcement appears to be gaining unwanted notoriety with a fourth use of deadly force in as many weeks.
In the early evening of August 3rd, Santa Maria Police responded to a 911 Emergency call reporting a motorist within the city brandishing a firearm at other drivers. Moments later, another citizen reported a sighting of an armed driver; shortly thereafter Santa Maria Police units spotted a vehicle matching the description given by the 911 callers and, according to Drew Sugars, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Public Information Officer, “a high-speed chase began”.
Over the period of nearly an hour, police pursued the suspect vehicle on a veritable tour of the northern Santa Barbara County that took them northward on US 101 into neighboring San Luis Obispo County, ultimately engaging support from area CHP units who implemented a “spike strip” and brought the vehicle to a halt on US Highway 1.
At that point, the suspect driver alighted from his vehicle and “confronted our officers with a weapon in his hand,” Sugars reported. Moments later, the suspect was dead on the roadway at the hands of deputies and officers who “were defending themselves from the armed suspect”, according to Sugars.
According to the SBSD and Santa Maria Police statements to the media, the (now dead) suspect’s name is being withheld pursuant to further investigation, including an accurate count of law enforcement personnel involved in the shooting, number of rounds fired, and “whether the suspect fired his weapon”, that weapon, upon investigation at the scene being revealed as a toy gun.
This officer “involved” shooting is the second to occur in the Santa Maria area in less than a week, and appears to be a factor in Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni being placed on paid administrative leave on August 3rd, and announcing his retirement a day later, August 4th.
KCOY: Santa Maria Police Chief Retires, Effective Immediately
Santa Maria Times: Family of man shot by officers wants answers
Cal Coast News: Santa Maria police shoot and kill another suspect