Chemical agent used in barricade incident
SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara Police Department’s SWAT Team deployed a chemical agent into an apartment Tuesday afternoon following an hours-long barricade incident involving a Santa Barbara man, police said.
Just after midnight Tuesday, officers responded to an apartment complex in the 100 block of Oceano Avenue following reports of a subject disturbing the peace and breaking property in his apartment. Officers attempted to contact the subject, later identified as 26-year-old Skyler Stephen Prophet, but he refused to answer the door “and started making nonsensical and irrational statements,” said Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale, police spokesman.
“Mental health workers were contacted but were not able to respond or render services because Prophet appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance,” Sgt. Ragsdale said in a press release. “The Officers on scene determined there was no crime, no one was willing to press charges for disturbing the peace, and no other occupants were inside the apartment. Officers asked Prophet through the door of the apartment to be quiet and it appeared he complied.”
Around 2 a.m., additional calls came into the dispatch center about Mr. Prophet continuing to create a disturbance. A neighbor signed a citizen’s arrest complaint, and as police contacted Mr. Prophet through a window he had broken, he allegedly grabbed a large piece of window glass, approximately 18-inches in diameter, and threw it at the officers, Sgt. Ragsdale said.
“The Officers had to quickly move out of the way to avoid being struck by the sharp shard,” he said. “Prophet continued to yell nonsensical statements and would not comply with multiple verbal requests from the Officers. Prophet then armed himself (with) a large wooden pole and continued to damage the interior of his apartment. Due to Prophet’s erratic actions and statements he had made, it appeared he was under the influence of an unidentified controlled substance and possibly suffering from mental health illness.”
Evacuations were ordered for the immediate surrounding apartment, and a shelter-in-place order was issued, which included Santa Barbara City College West Campus.
Multiple agencies were deployed and a search and arrest warrant was approved by a judge. After “dozens of attempts” to contact Mr. Prophet, and as he continued to allegedly throw blunt objects and fortify his apartment, the chemical agent was deployed and Mr. Prophet surrendered without further incident.
Police located five throwing knives, large wooden staffs and a metal pole or pipe. Mr. Prophet was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for a medical evaluation and because he was allegedly under the influence of a controlled substance.
After his medical evaluation, he was transported to Santa Barbara County Jail and received additional mental health treatment. He was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer, a felony. He is facing charges of disturbing the peace and resisting or obstructing an officer — both misdemeanors. He is being held on $50,000 bail.
No officers were injured, and a dog was retrieved from the apartment uninjured. The animal was cared for by city Animal Control and released to a family friend.
— Mitchell White
Forest officials raise fire restrictions
Los Padres National Forest officials announced that fire restrictions will be raised throughout the forest, effective immediately.
These restrictions will affect the use of campfires, stoves, smoking materials and internal combustion engines and will remain in effect until the end of the fire season later this fall.
As of Tuesday, the following restrictions will remain in effect: no open fires, campfires or charcoal fires permitted outside of developed recreation sites or designated campfire sites, even with a valid permit; smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building or designated campfire use site; internal combustion engines may be operated only on roads or designated trails; fireworks are not permitted at any time or in any location within the forest; and recreational target shooting remains prohibited within the forests, except for the Winchester Canyon Gun Club and the Ojai Valley Gun Club.
For a list of developed recreation sites and campfire use sites in the Los Padres National Forest, or additional information on fire-safe camping, visit www.fs.usda.gov/main/lpnf/home.
— Mitchell White
Man arrested on drug charges
ISLA VISTA — A Paso Robles man was arrested last weekend and is accused of possessing cocaine for sales in Isla Vista, authorities said.
Around 3 a.m. Saturday, authorities were at a residence in the 6600 block of Sueno Road in Isla Vista for a follow-up to the report of gunshots fired in the area. While they were searching for witnesses and evidence, three subjects were observed sitting in a parked vehicle with cocaine in plain view on the dashboard, said Raquel Zick, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies contacted the passenger and found 19-year-old Cesar Antonio Cerda Jr. in possession of cocaine that was packaged for sales, Ms. Zick said.
He was arrested on suspicion of selling and transporting cocaine, a felony, and transported to the Main Jail. He was booked and later released on a citation pursuant to the local court extension of Emergency Rule 4.
— Mitchell White
Asphalt tank catches fire at oil facility
SANTA MARIA — An asphalt tank caught fire Tuesday morning at the Greka crude oil processing plant in Santa Maria, authorities said.
The fire was reported around 11:50 a.m. Steam injection was used to extinguish the blaze, said Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
Oil and gas investigators were sent to the scene to investigate the cause of the fire.
Tuesday’s fire occurred one day after a boiler caught fire and prompted a response from the county fire department.
No injuries were reported.
— Mitchell White