Santa Barbara County – The Santa Maria Police Department Dispatch Center was a beehive of activity during the late evening hours of August 7th, with reports of auto burglaries and vehicle chases peppering the airwaves. Adding to the need for law enforcement response was a 911 Emergency call from area residents reporting an adult male driving through city streets showing passersby what appeared to be a handgun.
According to SMPD spokesman Rick Haydon, “responding officers had a good eyewitness description” of both the vehicle and a male suspect, complete with physical description. With multiple patrol units in the area, the suspect vehicle was observed soon after their arrival at the reporting scene.
“A traffic stop was conducted,” according to Haydon’s report to the media, and the suspect was summarily detained, with a field investigation leading to the discovery of a loaded fiream inside the car. The driver, Michael Russ, 35, a local resident of the area, was arrested on charges of being in possession of a loaded firearm and of providing false information to avoid prosecution.
Russ, who in 2011 had written a widely-distributed opinion piece in the local newspaper defending law enforcement actions in the shooting deaths of suspects resisting arrest, was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail
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