SANTA BARBARA — Three Santa Barbara “Eastside” gang members were arrested Tuesday in connection with the unprovoked assault and violent beating of a passerby.
According to Lt. Paul McCaffrey, spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department, the 37-year-old victim was walking home from work early the morning of Oct. 13 when he was accosted by Ismael Parra, 25, Miguel Parra, 22, and Steven Santana, 23.
The victim is “a family man with no gang affiliation,” said McCaffrey, and was apparently a random target of the violence “for no apparent reason.”
The victim is currently hospitalized at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in critical condition and remains on life support.
While responding to a 911 emergency call reporting a fight, police officers found the victim unconscious on the sidewalk and began a search of the area for those responsible. When the officers observed a small bonfire in a neighborhood backyard, further investigation revealed two of the suspects who appeared to have recently been in a fight and burning clothing, which was then taken into evidence.
Both Ismael and Miguel Parra are, according to Lt. McCaffrey, known to be active gang members. The brothers are recent parolees following Santa Barbara’s 2007 Operation Gator Roll, which targeted area gangs involved in illegal narcotic and firearms violations.
The brothers’ legal history fueled the ire of police Chief Cam Sanchez at a local media press conference held in the late afternoon of Oct. 13.
“Enough is enough,” the chief declared then. “This is not going to be tolerated.”
Miguel Parra was arrested on charges of attempted murder, committing a crime to benefit a known street gang, violation of probation, and resisting arrest. Ismael Parra and Steven Santana face identical charges, in addition to assault on a police officer and battery.