Reports came in that Jan. 15 of a man firing a high-powered CO-2 semi-automatic pistol at the Camino Real Marketplace Shopping Center, an open-air retail development with Spanish-style pillars and a vast outdoor area.
Upon arrival, deputies observed a male suspect with what looked like a handgun and ordered him to drop his weapon, at which point the suspect turned and fired upon them.
Two of the three responding deputies were hit by high-powered pellets fired by the assailant, who was later identified as Charles Quinn, 42, a local area transient and registered Florida sex offender. One deputy was struck in the forearm and another in the face, penetrating his cheek, shattering a tooth and lodging in his jaw. The deputies returned fire and brought the suspect down with multiple gunshots.
Quinn was transported by ambulance from the scene to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where he remains in serious condition with multiple gunshot wounds. Felony charges of robbery, assault, and resisting arrest are pending further investigation, according to sheriff’s spokesman Drew Sugars.
Two male mall employees were shot in the face by Quinn when they declined his request for money.
“The victims were lucky, because it could easily have been more than just a pellet gun,” Sugars said in describing the chain of events leading to the officer-involved shooting.
Quinn had fired point-blank at the two victims, each of whom required subsequent medical attention for non-life-threatening wounds.
The three deputies who fired upon Quinn, identified by Sheriff Bill Brown in a statement to the media as Mohsen Amjadi, Robert Baisa and Justin DiPinto, collectively have 16 years with the department.
“We’re thankful that the deputies and the citizens were not hurt any more than they were,” Brown said.
The deputies have been placed on administrative leave, which Sugars describes as “typical for any officer-involved shooting.”
Prior to this event, the last officer-involved shooting in Santa Barbara County took place in 2008.