Santa Barbara – In the early evening of October 14th, Santa Barbara Police Department patrol officers Allan Tuazon and Megan Harrison responded to a 911 Emergency call reporting a man who was passed out in the front of a vehicle parked in a residential neighborhood just north of the downtown area.
When Officers Harrison and Tuazon came on scene, they were informed by a witness who happened to be an off-duty SBPD officer, that the individual he had earlier observed as unconscious had parked his car in front of his house twenty minutes prior to the 911 call. According to SBPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood, the off-duty officer-witness “observed the suspect passed out in his car and smelled a strong odor of alcohol emanating from him,” which led the witness to believe the suspect was under the influence. At that time, “the officer removed the key’s from the vehicle’s ignition,” Harwood reported, “and waited for uniformed SBPD personnel to arrive.”
It was then that the allegedly intoxicated man, Stephen Glen Beniak, 60, arose from his slumber and staggered toward the front door of his home. When Harrison and Tuazon attempted to speak with Beniak—who was now in the doorway of his house—he was “belligerent and refused repeated requests to secure his three dogs which were with him inside the residence and acting aggressively,” Harwood reported. Rather than agree to the officers’ request, Beniak allegedly opened the front door to allow a 100-lb bloodhound to lunge at Tuazon, biting the officer on the hand and causing a puncture wound and laceration.
Beniak is reported to have then quickly retrieved his dog and slammed the front door shut and subsequently disregarded vocalized instructions from the officers to exit the residence, without the company of his canines. “He informed the officers that he was not going to come out,” said Harwood in his statements to the media, “and several other officers responded to the scene.” Shortly thereafter, SBPD Sgt. Andy Feller made verbal contact through an open bedroom window with Beniak in an attempt to convince him that he needed to step outside. Beniak refused, and more than two hours later, with arrest warrant now in hand, officers entered the residence forcibly and took Beniak into custody.
Beniak was arrested and booked for assault with a deadly weapon, felony DUI, resisting or delaying an officer, and driving on a suspended license. He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $30,000.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking, www.alldog.com
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