Man arrested for arson in Amtrak Station
SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara Police Department arrested a man Thursday night after he reportedly started a fire in the Amtrak Station on State Street.
The fire was reported around 9:20 p.m. Thursday evening by an Amtrak employee, who told police that someone had started a fire inside the station. The Santa Barbara Police Department, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department and Amtrak Police responded to the incident.
The suspect who allegedly started the fire was identified as Lonniel Morgan, a 63-year-old transient. According to the police department, he had traveled to Santa Barbara on an Amtrak train Thursday morning.
He was still on scene when authorities arrived and was identified by an Amtrak employee, according to a news release from the police department.
Mr. Morgan allegedly used newspapers to start the fire in a non-operable fireplace located inside the passenger waiting area of the train station. An Amtrak employee used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames before the fire could spread.
A witness told police they saw Mr. Morgan standing in front of the fire appearing to warm himself, according to a news release. The witness also identified Mr. Morgan as the subject who started the fire.
Mr. Morgan was arrested and booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for Arson (felony) and Arson During a State of Emergency (felony). He is being held on $350,000 bail.
— Madison Hirneisen
Lompoc man arrested for sex crimes against minors
LOMPOC — The Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Office arrested a man this week who reportedly committed multiple sex crimes against minors.
The man, 43-year-old Edward Norman Hill Lewis of Lompoc, was arrested Tuesday on a Ramey warrant for felony charges including a forcible lewd act upon a child under 14, lewd act upon a child 14-15 years old, communication with a minor to solicit a sexual act, possession of child pornography and sexual battery, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. He is being held in the Main Jail on $200,000 bail.
The Sheriff’s Office received an initial report of sexual abuse by Mr. Lewis in July. The report began a months-long investigation that resulted in the identification of several additional sexual assault survivors who reported incidents occurring throughout the county dating back as far as the early 2000s.
The investigation remains ongoing, and the Sheriff’s Office has interviewed numerous survivors. Detectives are now asking for the public’s help in identifying additional survivors.
Anyone with information about allegations or information that could lead to the identification of other victims should contact Detective Roy at (805) 681-4150. You can also contact the Sheriff’s Office anonymous tip line at (805) 681-4171 or visit sbsheriff.org/home/anonymous-tip.
The Sherrif’s Office also reminds survivors that several support services are available through its community partner, Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA). Services offered by STESA include a 24-hour hotline, legal and medical advocacy and accompaniment, and counseling. STESA can be reached at (805) 564-3696.
In a news release, the Sheriff’s Office said it’s aware that “survivors of sexual assault and abuse are often reluctant to come forward for many different reasons.” Resources are available to victims regardless of participation in the criminal investigation.
The Sheriff’s Office coordinates with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office Victim-Witness Program to ensure that the needs of survivors are not overshadowed by the investigation and prosecution of the accused. Victim Advocates are available to ensure survivors are informed and supported.
Survivors can contact the Victim-Witness Assistance Program directly at (805) 568-2400.
— Madison Hirneisen
Coroner’s bureau releases names of decedents in vehicle crash
SANTA BARBARA — The Coroner’s Bureau released the names of two decedents who died in a vehicle crash on the Garden Street on-ramp Wednesday evening.
The victims were 29-year-old Oscar Moreno, a passenger, and 34-year-old Jessica Honor. Both were from Santa Barbara.
The crash is still under investigation.
— Madison Hirneisen