Santa Barbara – Father Jon-Stephen Hedges, an assistant pastor at Isla Vista’s Street Athanasius Orthodox Church and a volunteer chaplain at the Santa Barbara County Jail with close ties to the law enforcement community, was reportedly awakened at 2:15 a.m. on May 7th by the sound of someone yelling for help.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, when “Father Jon” opened his front door with a mind to render assistance to someone apparently “in desperate need of help,” he became the subject of a violent physical attack.
Standing at Hedges’ front door was Paul Gusman, a 22-year-old UCSB student “naked from the waist down” who summarily “forced his way into the residence” and proceeded to pummel the pastor with more than 30 blows to the face.
Hedges’ wife, who tried to come to his aid, was herself struck on the hand before she managed to summon help with a 911 Emergency call. Shortly thereafter, deputies from the SBSD Isla Vista Foot Patrol arrived on the scene to discover Gusman in the front yard of the Hedges’ residence, shirtless and apparently “under the influence of a controlled substance” as well as intoxicated.
Gusman was immediately taken into custody and transported to Cottage Hospital for treatment to a hand injury sustained during the attack, following which he was taken to Santa Barbara County Jail for booking on charges of assault upon a person with force likely to produce great bodily injury, residential burglary, elder abuse, and dissuading a victim. His bail was set at $500,000.
Photo: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking