Officers involved in a shootout in Goleta with a documented gang member wanted on suspicion of attempted murder in May were found justified, according to a public report released Thursday.
District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley found the officers acted reasonably in the use of deadly force.
Santa Barbara police attempted to arrest Francisco Anthony Alcaraz Jr., 32, at an apartment complex off Camino De Vida and Turnpike Rd. in Goleta. Police say Alcaraz fired at the officers and the officers shot back.
Sheriff’s investigators say there were two exchanges of gunfire and that Alcaraz shot a total of six rounds from a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun.
They say one of the rounds struck an officer in the pant leg but did not cause injury. Another round reportedly struck a SWAT vehicle where officers were taking cover.
The sheriff’s office says five Santa Barbara police officers fired a total of 58 rounds during the shootout.
According to sheriff’s officials, Alcaraz was struck four times and died as a result.
Investigators say Alcaraz lived in Lompoc but he was known to frequent the Camino De Vida apartment because his wife and children lived there. The sheriff’s office says police determined Alcaraz was in the apartment alone when they went to serve the arrest warrant that afternoon.
Once the shooting started, police set up a perimeter around the apartment complex, evacuated some residents and told others to shelter-in-place, placed nearby San Marcos High School on lockdown, and closed Highway 101 – which runs adjacent to the complex – in both directions.
Officers attempted to communicate with Alcaraz, who they believed had barricaded himself inside the apartment. After not hearing from him for an extended period of time, a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad robot was sent to check on him. It was at that time officials say Alcaraz was discovered dead.
You can read the report in full here.