Liquor store robber stabs clerk, sends schools into lockdown

CARPINTERIA — A botched liquor store robbery left one store clerk with multiple stab wounds and put area schools in lockdown until authorities caught up with the believed assailant Monday morning.

At 8 a.m. on Monday, a silent alarm and a 911 emergency call brought sheriff’s officers to Carpinteria’s City Market, just blocks from what the local Chamber of Commerce touts as “The World’s Safest Beach.”

Sheriff’s deputies found the store clerk suffering multiple knife wounds following a thwarted robbery attempt.

“The robbery was in progress with the clerk at knifepoint when a visiting liquor salesman surprised the suspect by coming out of the beverage cooler to find out what was going on,” explained Drew Sugars, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Before deputies arrived, the suspect fled the premises and outran the liquor salesman who attempted to pursue the assailant on foot. The store clerk was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with a slashed hand and a non-life-threatening stab wound to the chest.

An intense search ensued, with sheriff’s deputies from multiple substations, K-9 officers and aerial search support. Local grammar schools were placed on full lockdown throughout the morning while the suspect was sought.

The K-9 units, in concert with witness reports, led deputies to the apartment of James Hoover, 19.

Hoover was initially transported to the sheriff’s substation in Carpinteria for questioning. Later that morning Hoover was placed under arrest and charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and criminal threats, and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $100,000.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office launched a full-scale search for a liquor store robber Monday.


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