Friday, April 11, 2008

Quiet community shaken by stabbing

The silence that usually dominates the 600 block of San Ramon Drive in Goleta was shattered yesterday when Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s patrol cars and a forensic unit lined the street to investigate a midday stabbing.
As detectives huddled with witnesses at a residence on the corner of San Ramon and San Lorenzo Drive, children walking home from nearby Hollister Elementary School passed by and paid little attention to the hushed scene.

Packs of neighbors stood on front lawns chatting about the victim, whom they referred to as Richard, and his girlfriend and two-month-old daughter.
“I know that he got stabbed,” said an 18-year-old man who grew up in the neighborhood and asked to remain anonymous. “That’s all.”
A Sheriff’s Department spokesman said he had few details yesterday evening, saying only that the gang unit was investigating. Deputies were dispatched to the scene at 1:40 p.m.
A woman, who also asked to remain anonymous, said she raised four sons on the street and has lived in the neighborhood for decades, but never thought such violence could erupt there.
“Nothing ever goes on here,” she said. “You just don’t want sh-- like [this] happening in your neighborhood, you know?”
The woman said deputies told her the victim was assaulted by three men, who pulled up in a white sedan, exited the vehicle and stabbed the man, who she believes is 20 years old.
The woman said she was standing on the front lawn of her home, talking to one of her sons when she saw the victim jogging slowly up the street to his girlfriend’s home — a daily ritual that didn’t seem out of place.
“He walks up that street every day,” she said. “There was nothing out of the ordinary. I didn’t see or hear a thing.”
She said the victim was stabbed in front of a home several houses down the block.
Not more than a minute after the victim entered his girlfriend’s home, where she lives with her parents, the woman said she saw the girlfriend’s father enter his car and speed away with the victim. The woman said she waved as they drove away, just as she would have on any other day.
“I didn’t know anything was wrong,” she said.
The woman said she did not notice the victim grabbing his stomach or anything else that would indicate the severity of the situation.
A couple of minutes after seeing the victim leave the residence — presumably for the hospital — the woman received a phone call from the victim’s girlfriend’s mother, who asked if the woman could take her daughter’s child and call 911.
The woman said she doesn’t know the victim well, but during her interactions with him, he was kind.
“He’s a nice kid,” she said. “He’s always very nice and polite.”
Dispatches heard over the police scanner indicated the victim had been stabbed in the torso, possibly the stomach. Attempts to confirm the severity of the injuries with Cottage Health System and the Sheriff’s Department were unsuccessful.
A 16-year-old girl who grew up on the street and said her best friend is the victim’s girlfriend, expressed surprise that a stabbing could occur in her neighborhood.
“This is the first time anything really bad has happened here,” she said.
Some said the victim lives in the neighborhood, but would not say where.
Bob Guillen has lived on San Lorenzo Drive since 1966 and called the area a “tight-knit community.”
“It’s a great neighborhood,” he said. “We’ve had block parties, had the street blocked off and used to have Fourth of July parades.”
Sarah Flynn lives directly across the street from the victim’s girlfriend’s home on San Ramon Drive and was getting ready to go on her afternoon walk when she noticed the heavy police presence.
“I’m quite shocked,” she said, adding that dozens of young children live in the area and doesn’t think it’s the kind of place where people have to worry about crime. “I also wouldn’t think someone would get stabbed in broad daylight a block away from my house.”


Anonymous said...

Not really that surprising, drive down that street some day and have a look around. Then judge for yourself how shocked you are that it could've occurred there.

Anonymous said...

Even though we live in a close knit community we do need to open our eyes.Such as stop and go traffic bring bad unwanted visitors to our peaceful street.And now at times fear we can't have our children ages 14 & younger be outside playing in a free zone anymore like before. After Work & School San Ramon Drive & other streets in our area are quiet,peacefull family zone area(s). We work so hard to keep safe and pure for our little ones.San Ramon Drive is the street everyone dreams of,the street where you know your neighbors,have block parties,4th of July parades and everyone participates,where we have long time resident(s) resit beautiful patriotic melodies on their piano while neighbor(s) & their children are listening in delight & honor. This is what living on San Ramon Drive is all about. This is why we love living on this street.And now that this has happened just makes you hope and wish that there will be a sheriff in our community patrolling more often for the sake of our little ones.

Anonymous said...

This is also my neighborhood. I am very sad for all of families involved. The specific action I will take is to make sure I am out more often (walking to the stores, restaurants, and barber shop up the street.

We're all gang members in that we all belong to one another.

There's also a few home along Rhoads that seem to have very unusual activity. I'll check in with the Sheriff and ask for more presence. Here's our wake-up call, neighbors. Let's work together on this.

Again, my family's best to all who are closely involved with this.