Santa Barbara County – The bedroom community of Vandenberg Village, situated in central Santa Barbara County, is arguably a 9.5 on the 1-to-10 scale of residential tranquility, as it’s the home of those U.S. Air Force families supporting one of America’s premier defense facilities.
But that tranquility was no doubt disturbed by the goings on between 38-year old Johnny William Argel and his girlfriend on the night of August 6th when, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, deputies were called to her home pursuant to “a domestic violence dispute call at 1:00 a.m.”
When deputies arrived, Argel’s girlfriend claimed that he had physically assaulted her and then fled the premises. With his identity and address in hand, Deputies then went to Argel’s home to discuss the matter further. But when deputies showed up, Argel “came out of an upstairs bedroom holding what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun to his head,” Hoover reported.
The sight of an ostensibly unstable suspect holding a pistol to his head surely gave Deputies some pause as they learned that Argel’s 91-year old grandmother was in the house, and only through carefully measured dialogue with Argel did he agree to allow the elderly woman to evacuate the house with the help of law enforcement personnel on the scene.
But once Grammy was out of the house, negotiations with Argel stalled. As additional cops showed up from the Lompoc Police Department and SBSD, Argel held his ground for another 45 minutes, brandishing what appeared to be a deadly weapon throughout. Ultimately, law enforcement training in such matters prevailed, and Argel finally “set the gun down and allowed deputies to take it,” Hoover said, whereupon it was discovered to be an airsoft pistol and not the full-caliber Glock semi-auto that it replicates so convincingly.
For all his troubles with women that night, Argel was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of false imprisonment and felony assault with a deadly weapon, with his bail set at $1,000,000.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
Lompoc Record: Lompoc man jailed following intense standoff