Within four short blocks of Santa Barbara’s Chase Palm Park and the city’s East Beach tourist mecca, two separate violent attacks and stabbings took place just after midnight on July 13th that left four victims injured, with one remaining hospitalized suffering critical injuries.
According to Santa Barbara Police Department spokesman Sgt. Dan McGrew, “officers arrived at the first scene in the 400 block of North Milpas Street “to find a man with stab wounds” who was immediately transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
As the investigation into that incident began, just two hours later SBPD patrols responded to a 911 Emergency call to a scene on Santa Barbara’s westside where three additional stabbing victims were found, one a female.
Santa Barbara Police Department Gang Enforcement Detectives immediately investigated and determined that Edgar Alberto Castellanos, 23, Abraham Vega, 20, Jose Rene Santacruz, 20, Rita Maria Rodriguez Mejia, 23, and Itzel Ramirez, 20, all of Santa Barbara—and all members of a known criminal gang–were participants in both attacks.
Each suspect, according to McGrew, has been booked on charges of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury upon multiple victims, with each charge carrying “a special allegation of street terrorism for the benefit of or at the direction of the Westside Gang.
As noted in SBPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood’s report to the media on the incident, Vega was convicted at the age of 18 of a 2011 assault with a deadly weapon and will appear on these charges with a felony strike prior.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
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