SANTA BARBARA — Taking the name of today’s holiday to heart, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s officials were still laboring on Monday to bring an armed highway robber to justice.
Sept. 2 marked the department’s release of an artist’s sketch rendering of the male suspect responsible for wounding a “good Samaritan” motorist in broad daylight on Aug. 26 just north of Goleta on U.S. 101.
According to sheriff’s department spokesman Drew Sugars, the shooting victim was heading north approaching Refugio Road on his way to the beach when he spotted the suspect flagging down passersby at the side of the heavily-traveled road. Stopping to help, the victim was informed that the suspect’s truck had broken down a half-mile up Refugio Road, on the north side of the main highway. The suspect indicated that he just needed some water or coolant for his truck, and the victim offered to drive him up the road and provide the water he was carrying in his car.
When the two men arrived at the suspect’s truck, according to the witness statement provided to the sheriff’s department, the suspect then revealed a handgun and demanded cash. The victim indicated that he carried no cash, whereupon the suspect shot him in the leg, hopped into his truck and fled back down Refugio Road to U.S. 101.
“Luckily, he had a cell phone and could call for help,” Sugars said in a brief phone interview Thursday, adding that the victim was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. “He’s going to be okay.”
According to Sugars, the suspect’s vehicle is a bright red Ford or Chevrolet pickup truck of recent vintage, while the suspect himself is described as white male, mid-30s, approximately 5’10” with light brown hair, no visible tattoos, wearing denim jeans and maroon colored shirt.
Authorities hope last week’s release of the sketch will result in someone coming forward. Individuals with any information regarding this suspect are urged to contact the sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at (805) 681-4171.