Suspect arrested for hate crime, battery
SANTA BARBARA — Santa Barbara police Wednesday arrested a man on suspicion of a hate crime and battery on an officer.
The police responded to a call at 3:30 p.m. in the 900 block of State Street. Witnesses said a male suspect allegedly had approached a family of four visiting Santa Barbara and started verbally assaulting them.
The family, which consisted of two juveniles, attempted to flee the area in hopes of walking away from the suspect. But the suspect allegedly continued to pursue them northbound on State Street.
Eventually the family was able to flee from the suspect near the intersection of State and Canon Perdido streets, according to Santa Barbara police.
The investigation revealed the suspect, identified as Mark Anthony Smith, a 57-year-old transient, had allegedly and unprovokedly been yelling slurs at the family based on their clothing and perceived nationality. Mr. Smith then allegedly focused his verbal assault on one of the adolescents, according to police.
Witnesses and the family felt if they did not actively flee the area, Mr. Smith would physically harm them.
Based on witness descriptions, Mr. Smith was located near the intersection of State and Canon Perdido streets, where he was placed under arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Smith allegedly battered an officer, who was not injured.
Mr. Smith was booked in Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of felony hate crime threats and misdemeanor battery on an officer. Bail was set at $10,000.
— Dave Mason