Santa Barbara – In the pre-dawn hours of February 13th, Santa Barbara Police Department officers and detectives responded to a 911 Emergency call for assistance at Plaza Del Mar Park, immediately adjacent to Santa Barbara City College’s tennis courts and within sight of Santa Barbara’s famed West Beach and Stearn’s Wharf. According to SBPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood, arriving officers contacted SBCC security staff and a collaborative effort was made to investigate the surrounding area.
Officers soon discovered a severely beaten 49-year-old homeless man lying in the grass “and in need of medical attention,” as Harwood described to the media. Initial investigation determined that his injuries were of such significance they indicated he had been the victim of a felony battery resulting in great bodily injury. The victim was hastily transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where he was stabilized with serious injuries, and is expected to survive.
Pursuant to the events of February 13th, SBPD conducted an active investigation that broke when, two weeks later on February 27th, SBPD Officer Tom Eccles, while working another battery case involving homeless individuals, learned that someone named “Mike” had been boasting of a beating he had inflicted upon someone at Plaza Del Mar Park. Eccles investigated further and made contact with Michael Keith Dawson, 39, late that same night at a nearby 7-11 Store. Additional SBPD detectives joined Eccles to interview Dawson, and it was quickly determined that he was a very likely suspect in the earlier beating. Dawson was arrested at the scene and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and battery resulting in great bodily injury.
Dawson was then transported to Santa Barbara County Jail where he was booked with bail set at $50,000.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
EdHat: Felony Battery Arrest