SANTA BARBARA — While a local man lies in a Cottage Hospital bed recovering from a single .45 caliber gunshot wound to the head, Santa Barbara detectives followed more than 100 leads and tips that took them to the driveway of a house in Pahrump, Nev.
Jack Mills, 52, was taken into custody Wednesday at the family home of his wife, Rebecca Lee Mills, 50, who was also arrested and booked into the Nye County Correctional Facility. He is charged with attempted murder on a bail of $1 million; his wife is charged with accessory to murder with a bail of $500,000.
According to Santa Barbara Police Department spokesman Lt. Paul McCaffrey, Det. Michael Clayton led the investigation that began on the morning of March 1, following reports of gunfire on a quiet Santa Barbara residential street. Witnesses reported seeing an older black Volvo in the neighborhood that morning, remarking that the vehicle seemed “out of place.”
An appeal to the public for any information regarding the vehicle or individuals connected to the shooting was rewarded with reports of a black Volvo being observed in a Goleta convenience store parking lot just a day before the shooting took place. Surveillance and security video from that site revealed images of the black Volvo and its occupants, Jack Mills and Rebecca Mills. Those images were shown to the shooting victim and his wife — who herself had been an assault victim at the crime scene — and they identified the Mills couple as their assailants.
Those images were broadcast to state police agencies, which led to an identification of the suspects by Lompoc police officers familiar with Jack Mills and his prior criminal background. Once the vehicle was traced to Mills, authorities researched his family and social contacts, which eventually led local Santa Barbara officers, in conjunction with Nevada authorities and U.S. Marshals, right to Mills in his in-laws’ driveway, sitting in the front seat of the black Volvo.
Santa Barbara police Chief Cam Sanchez, at a press conference held on the Figueroa Street station steps, lauded his detectives, promising violent offenders in the area that they will always be hunted down, wherever they may run.