Case is Being Investigated as a Potential Hate Crime and Possibly Gang Related
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an assault that occurred on July 28, 2018 at Estero Park in Isla Vista. At approximately 9:30 p.m., UCSB Police Officers responded to a local hospital to a report of two male assault victims. The victims reported that they had been attacked in the park by a group of 6 to 10 Hispanic male juveniles. At least one of the suspects was armed with a dark-colored baton which was used to strike the victims. A 21-year-old UCSB student received a large laceration to his scalp and a broken jaw. The other victim, a 22-year-old male, received a cut lip, welts across his back and an injured shoulder. The suspects fled the scene when a bicyclist drove into the park, saw what was happening and began yelling. After the suspects dispersed, the victims flagged down a passing vehicle and got a ride to the hospital.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the possibility the crime is gang related and potentially a hate crime. Sexual derogatory comments were made toward one of the victim’s sexual orientation during the assault. At this time, there is no evidence to confirm the suspects had knowledge of their sexual orientation or that it is what motivated the attack.
The crimes committed against the victims in this case were serious and violent in nature. The Sheriff’s Office is requesting the public’s assistance to help bring these violent offenders into custody. Anyone with information that would assist investigators is asked to call the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division at 805-681-4150. To leave an anonymous tip, please call 805-681-4171 or go to our website at https://www.sbsheriff.org/home/anonymous-tip/.