Beach stabbing yields homicide arrests

Brittany Weiler

SANTA BARBARA — Rudy Gallegos, 21, was arrested Sunday as the principle suspect in the throat-slashing homicide of Robert Burke Simpson on a popular public beach.

The victim, age 44, was reportedly attempting to break up a fight between two individuals on April 14 when Gallegos approached him from behind and slashed Simpson’s throat. The attack took place in full view of more than 200 beachgoers, many of whom came forward to present descriptions of the event as well as that of the suspect as a young Hispanic male with shaved head and multiple tattoos.

Sheriff’s homicide detectives responded with aggressive investigatory protocols; within 24 hours they had apprehended Brittany Danielle Weiler, 19, and another juvenile female as accessories to the murder. Both were held on bail set at $1million. On the evening of April 18, deputies served a search warrant on the Santa Barbara Westside neighborhood home of Gallegos, where, according to sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Drew Sugars, their suspect was taken into custody.

The public violence of this crime before hundreds of local beachgoers has stirred considerable public interest and has provided detectives with multiple leads of considerable value.

Sugars, commenting on his department’s gratitude to those who come forward with information, said they are currently in possession of significant evidence pointing to additional suspects and accessories after-the-fact who may have been involved in aiding and abetting activities.

“We’ve been working this case around the clock,” Sugars remarked. “There will be more arrests.”

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