Photo: Courtesy SBSD Isla Vista Foot Patrol
Written By: Robert McCullough
August 22, 2022 – Santa Barbara County, Ca. – The community of Isla Vista, immediately adjacent to the UCSB campus and the home to multiple fraternity and sorority residences as well as innumerable student apartment-dwellers, is no stranger to the “party life.” However even party hosts draw the line when it comes to the character of those attending a casual soirée.
That appears to have been the case just after midnight on August 14th when 20-year-old Lompoc resident Raymond Rene Gaitan Jr. was attending a party and was asked by the host to leave. According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Raquel Zick, rather than complying with that request, Gaitain Jr. “brandished, assaulted, and criminally threatened” the host.
Moments later, as the victim called 911, Gaitan fled the scene. Responding SBSD Isla Vista Foot Patrol deputies promptly searched the area, but came up empty-handed, unable to locate
Gaitan whom they identified pursuant to witness interviews.
Nearly a full week later, however, just after midnight on August 20th , deputies on patrol “saw Gaitan driving his car,” followed him for a distance, and then conducted a “high-risk stop” on his vehicle. Contact was made with Gaitan and his two 15-year-old male passengers. One of the juveniles as found “carrying a concealed, loaded ‘ghost’ gun” and the other was in possession of two additional “ghost” guns. It was quickly determined that Gaitan—in an effort to avoid being found in possession of a loaded weapon—had given his gun to one of the boys.
All three suspects were taken into custody, with the juveniles cited for weapons possession violations and released to their parents. Gaitain—a felony probationer with prior weapons and gang affiliation convictions—was transported to Santa Barbara County Jail where he was booked as a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, assault with a deadly weapon, branding a firearm, possession of an un-serialized firearm, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, with his bail set at $250,000.