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Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Extreme" Gunman at Ralph's on Carrillo

A guy named Ralph (according to KSBY) waved a fake gun at Ralph's today on Carrillo Street. The gunman was hit with a bean bag gun (KSBY and KEYT) and Chief Sanchez pretended that it was hard to tell if it was a real gun on the KSBY interview -- using the word "extreme".

Hard to believe that wasn't just for the press, but Chief Cam certainly had a win tonight in that the "gunman" was taken down without real force. Clearly, none of us would have wanted to take this Ralph person for granted and the police did a great job at containing the area. The way the guy was holding his weapon in the air for such a long time, however, it is hard to assume that our brilliant police force didn't figure out it was a fake sooner than later -- why else would they use a bean bag gun?

Still, our boys and girls in blue did the right thing and I commend them for diffusing the tense situation on Carrillo Street.

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46 Comments:

Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

Not one to be critical of the "police" but perhaps you all noticed that apparently the police abruptly wrestled KEYT off to a less intimate video shooting site. Essentially it was a blackout. As sara pointed out the KEYT television viewer could see everything, Ralph, at Ralphs waving his gun, and every police officer and exactly what everyone was doing. While I am also happy with the end results I was somewhat concerned that the "news" was apparently circumvented by the police. If KEYT had any juevos at all they should sue the Police. Why wouldn't the Police want a video record of their actions?

9/29/2007 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Max Height said...

From what I saw on KEYT, the police did a great job and the situation was resolved in a calm, professional, safe way. I don't know why you feel compelled to belittle the police and politicize this incident with your comments. Just be thankful they didn't shoot the guy with real bullets, which could have easily been the outcome. I am surprised that you didn't blame it on Wendy McCaw...

9/29/2007 7:32 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I agree they did a great job! and there are some interesting aspects about how it was handled as donaldo mentions above...

9/29/2007 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't quite understand why you say that Chief Sanchez "pretended" that it was hard to tell if it was a real gun.
If you go to a sports shop where they sell pellet handguns you can see how real some look, especially from a distance.

9/29/2007 7:51 AM  
Anonymous Citizen Stringer said...

The police presumably could not tell what kind of gun it was, bullet or pellet, so after an hour and $10K in cumulative overtime pay, the "bean bags" and the dogs took him down.

Chief Sanchez obviously meant that the attention and the insipid filler yacking from the KEYT news anchors was the "extreme" nature of this incident.

Joe Gehl told us viewers in detail it was not known if the man with the gun was homelessness, drunk, stoned, distraught, a passer-by, a shopper, a Republican, or a Democrat, all while sounding like Gehl did know and made it up from the safety of Where the News Comes First.

Paula Lopez then misread the clock about three times, then Gehl and Lopez called the gun-toting center of attention a "gentleman" about 40 times in their nervous remarks.

The Palm kept calm calling in the story from the field, although his vantage was highly limited.

Robert Bernstein got some great photos of the "extreme gunman" and these are at his web site and via a Citizen News link at Edhat local news. Noozhawk is already at work.

9/29/2007 7:56 AM  
Anonymous thank you sbpd said...

If "Ralph" had done this gunwaving in just about any other city, "Ralph" would no longer be with us.

The SBPD should be commended for their patience, professionalism and coordination.

Rather than the monday-morning quarterbacking "sue the police" mentality---what a joke! Of course the police didn't want a closeup of live action guy swinging his gun---that just provokes would-be heroes, and generally interferes in a very intense situation. Police are trained to NEVER take for granted whether or not a gun is "real" until they have it in their hands and can inspect it. As a resident of Santa Barbara who cherishes life, I would expect nothing less.

9/29/2007 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While City Council members are off to out of town conventions or favoring their pet social causes, they have abandoned this city to vagrants, guns, drugs and roaming bums.

Right in the heart of the city. The very heart they dumped all their social projects in - right across from that half-way house for bums on Carrillo Street which draws them all to the Ralph's parking lot to drink, hang out and harass.

They have been blind to the downside of all their social projects because they are never in town long enough to see what damage they have done to it in their few short years of "enlighted" government.

Cherie Rae in the Santa Barbara Sound said our police force was less than half of what it should be for a comparable city our size. We send the wrong message on our streets. Right now we send the message it is a free for all for any bum who wants to take it over. There is no presence on our streets to tell them otherwise.

It is time for seriouss change about how this city does its business and the city council has abandoned the downtown to gangs and increasing violence and have been totally ineffectual and in fact exacerbated the problems with their cockamamy social schemes that have made things worse.

They do not listen to the neighborhoods who have seen all of this coming and they totally ignored them.

Dump every single one of them in November. It is time for major changes in this town and not a moment too soon!

9/29/2007 8:33 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

7:51 AM -- perhaps I am wrong in assuming they could either tell what kind of gun it was or get a close up shot with camera or video to tell the difference. No matter in the end -- as I keep on saying, it was taken care of well.

9/29/2007 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Rodney King comes to mind said...

Anon 8:33

I don't agree we need to blame the council on this one. For all we know the social programs keep this city's problems from becoming worse than it is. BTW gang activity and crime are up all over this country. Perhaps we should concentrate on throwing Bush out. I like to put the blame on the "people" for not taking a good look in the mirror when trying to determine how their own assumptions and actions create these negative social scenarios and violence.

The gang stabbing death of Luis Linares ad private photos resulted as apparent beneficial evidence for the prosecution who reportedly excluded sharing the evidence with the defense. So again private documentation is very important and the police know that.

Again, I am thankfull the police and Ralph apparently made it through this event. Again, when the police circumvent the public or media from news content, thats a bit spooky like something we don't expect here in the U.S. of A. Preventative censorship is still censorship. There are at least a couple legal questions.

In the very least the public deserves to know more. If KEYT's or more importantly the public's rights were violated the police need to be held accountable for that action.

pssst >>>> its me donaldo

9/29/2007 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Key-3 news should sue the cops and the whole incident is the result of city councilmen going off to conventions?

Maybe (I dunno, but just maybe) the TV guys were in a position to see everything clearly because they were also in a position that exposed them to potential danger? And do we really think that our city council members would have helped by their presence? Do we believe that some new council members would have talked the guy down or run in and tackled the gun away?

Are you people delusional? Seems to me like the cops acted prudently and professionally and deserve our kudos. Good job, SBPD!

9/29/2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to blame the mayor and city council for this gunman.

9/29/2007 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how much tax payer money was wasted because of "Ralph"?

My heart is filled with gladness that our city council is doing all it can to provide high density homes for "Ralph" and all his friends right here in our fair city!

Oh Joy! Can those of us who live in Noleta PLEASE be annexed by you?

9/29/2007 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Santa Barbara were a crime free city, the council would take credit for it...when the reverse is true, the council will get the blame. If you can't stand the heat; get out of the kitchen.

9/29/2007 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy "Ralph" loiters around Ralph's regularly. Probably lives at one of the many and increasingly prevalent city-funded homeless crash pads. No doubt he came here from somewhere else, and our city leaders insist on a degree of "tolerance" that is damaging our sense of safety, sanity, and comfort in our downtown area. I used to frequent downtown a lot----I wouldn't go near it now. and this City Council is considering a massive and dense "transit center" complete with "affordable housing" and lots of noise and vehicles right across the street from where Ralph played his little gun game. No way.

9/29/2007 4:10 PM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

The famous Anonymous is right!!!

It is all the fault of Marty Blum and her trips to the national conference of mayors.

Now we can solve the problems of affordable housing and traffic congestion, and World Peace and Bush Impeachment.

9/29/2007 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting choice of web links. Why KSBY? Its Santa Barbara "correspondent," Leana Orsua, was nowhere to be found. In fact, the cameraman was so dumbfounded by her being MIA, he asked me to appear on camera in her stead. Perhaps she was covering another whale crap situation in Carp ... no, she was reporting about a store closing on State Street that was reported months ago by Maria Zate in the News-Press. Thanks God for KEYT

9/29/2007 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CS, it sounds like if it were up to you, the City Council/Mayor would not be responsible for ANYTHING that goes wrong in the city. So why have them? and what's the difference between calling oneself "anonymous" and calling onself "citizen stringer". Both mask our real identities. So please, get over yourself.

9/29/2007 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart is filled with gladness that our city council is doing all it can to provide high density homes for "Ralph" and all his friends right here in our fair city!

Posts like this prove that, no matter how high the property values are in Santa Barbara, you can't buy class.

9/29/2007 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad for everyone, Ralph of Ralph's is a good ending so far.

Start with Impeach Bush and all WC's. I could live with 4 or 5 in Congress and Senate remaining after '08, but they go if no Impeachment. That is serious.

Crime everywhere will go down any day, look at all the loco weed they are digging up... and our tax money at work on the Medical Marijuana Clinics. (That is not so serious) How did the Fed's get our number? We know it wasn't Wendy. She saves the plant kingdom.

A town without a paper needs a hault on local politics, the bad and good, until we can have a daily capable of communicating. A forever City Council and forever N-P go together.

9/29/2007 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very professional job by the officers. Had the gun been lowered the man would have more holes than swiss cheese.

as to keyt's coverage, it was excellent even from a safe distance. i saw footage of a cop looking at the man with binoculars from 50 feet away. why would he need to do that? maybe he was looking to see if the gun had the word "crossman" on it instead of "colt."

9/29/2007 7:03 PM  
Anonymous eight santa barbara said...

One of the photos on the Independent's website shows the bottom of the grip of the gun. I'm not a gun expert, though I've been leaning toward thinking I should know something about them, but it appears you can tell the type of gun from the picture itself. It looks like you can see the spot for the CO2 canister right there, and I don't think 'real' guns have a round slot in the bottom where a clip might go. Take a look...

http://independent.com/news/2007/sep/29/man-gun-downtown-ralphs-arrested/

Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean the PD did anything wrong. In fact, they appeared to do most things right, from the standpoint of a casual observer as myself. Cheers to them. I could be wrong about the whole gun thing, and maybe the PD didn't have the ability to take snapshots and view them in real time, as do football teams when analyzing a play on the sidelines only seconds later. Perhaps this incident will help the PD make an assessment as to needs in case of similar events in the future.

I disagree with the idea that pushing KEYT away was anything like a blackout, or that the police cared much for the videotaping of their moves. Imagine if this was a person with a 'real' gun, fully loaded, and was skilled with it, the person had on some body armor, and they were willing to fire off a few rounds just to get people jumping.

Imagine the reporters are thinking this is their only opportunity to (pretend to) be embedded with people in uniforms and carrying guns outside of Iraq circa 2003. Guy fires off a few rounds, hits the Palm twice, and now the PD have to call in the fire department and ambulance and protect them as they try to get the Palm over to the street where he can be treated.

Police don't need to baby sit reporters who are trying to get a story. If they are trying to make sure all bases are covered, they don't need to take a number of those in position to carry off the wounded and protect additional personnel who treat the wounded. They don't need to provoke someone whose mental instability might hit a breaking point at the sight of a newsman and a camera broadcasting his picture all over the TV.

The KEYT van was parked next to the Greyhound station. It is not all that difficult to see the front of the Ralph's store across the parking lot, though it may be hard to pick out detail and specifics. A blackout would be to have cordoned off many city blocks, evacuating the entire area of any workers or residents at least one full block in any direction so that no clear vantage point could be established of the activity at the front of the store. KEYT footage was just fine, except for not being able to get that tripod straight.

9/29/2007 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have a city sponsored half-way house for bums on Carrillo Street, and immediately the number of bums hanging around this area increases dramatically to the point it is scary to walk those very streets day or night now because of all the slackers this place attracts, you have a city sponsored mess.

And as I see it, the city is the mayor and the city council who keep making these stupid decisions besides telling these slackers to move on out, like every other community has done. Or they face police consequence.

These are not our people 'falling on bad times", they are slackers who end up here because they know they can get a free ride no other community offers them.

Let's learn more about who this guy Ralph is, but he sure looks just like the Anglo alcoholic bums who have taken over State Street, the Library courtyard, in front of Borders near the public bathroom, Dela Guerra Plaza, and Ralph's's garden patio near the bus station.

Welcome to beautiful downtown Santa Barbara.

9/29/2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

6:18 pm -- happened to be watching KSBY that's all. They had some young reporter in three layers of pin stripes (yikes!) who looked like it was his first time covering anything....I guess it took them by surprise.

9/29/2007 11:15 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Eight SB -- that's what I was getting at -- thanks. In the end, the SBPD did what they could in a tough situation and did a great job.

Whether Chief Cam told the whole story or not is another question and a separate issue -- I think they knew it was a fake but before digital photography you would never admit that back in the day...as there is no way you would be proved wrong.

9/29/2007 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this morning's n-p story says the last known "address" for this guy was Casa Esparanza........

9/30/2007 9:52 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

All's well that ends well...

Seeing every incident is hyper analized in this town, can't blame PD for taking their time...besides, makes for good film at 11.

I like the idea of downgrading the response in light of the pellet gun...Maybe we could have a squad of guys with samuri swords to respond to knife fights...talk about good film at 11...

9/30/2007 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And as I see it, the city is the mayor and the city council who keep making these stupid decisions besides telling these slackers to move on out, like every other community has done. Or they face police consequence.

With all of the money and affluence that is in Santa Barbara - this is the BEST solution that you can come up with? Just force the problem on other place?

Most of the "bums" are those with severe mental illness who are self-medicating with alcohol. Which, incidentally, also describes most of those who live in Hope Ranch.

9/30/2007 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:52 AM -- interesting as Ralph's privacy isn't as important as Rob's....

9/30/2007 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup, the best answer for these Anglo alcoholic bums is to let them know there is no free ride and Santa Barbara is not here to solve the world's problems because every other surrounding city is telling these bums to move on AND telling them they will be welcomed in Santa Barbara.

The influx of slacker out-of-towners increases every month -- all thanks to the crappy policies of this city council.

So yes, this is a very enlightened position to take ...Move On ... because it works in every other community that applies it.

My tax dollars are not for solving other peoples voluntary substance abuse problems. We already have plenty of social safety net programs we are spending huge amounts of tax dollars on for the truly frail and impaired - something like $20-30 million a year in this community alone.

There is no room to also take in those who are functioning and ambulatory who have the presence of mind to wave guns in public places and find shelter and a free ride for themselves.

They are therefore very capable of also putting their lives in order ..someplace where they can work to support themselves. And that ain't here.

9/30/2007 12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is a relative hand full of slacker bums in a city rife with illigal immigrants? That's really brave talk about suggesting the mayor tell the slacker bums to move on or face police consequence. Can't even do that when it's the law!

9/30/2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taking a hard-line position on any of our outrageous social problems is just counter to the so-called progressive label of the people who run this city--look how they justify overdevelopment by claiming it's for workforce housing. Instead all we get are luxury condos for rich out of towners and apartments for er, homeless people. We need people who aren't so concerned with their image, and more concerned with dealing with this mess.

9/30/2007 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

City of SB should look to what happened to the City of Santa Monica once it opened its doors, parks and beaches to unrestricted vagrancy. The sorts of incidents eg "Ralph at Ralphs" will become more frequent, businesses will suffer and once vibrant community spaces will be vacated and occupied only by the "homeless". That's not theory, that's fact. It happened in Santa Monica. and when Santa Monica tried to "turn back the clock" it found it could not put the homeless genie back in the bottle.

9/30/2007 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My tax dollars are not for solving other peoples voluntary substance abuse problems. We already have plenty of social safety net programs we are spending huge amounts of tax dollars on for the truly frail and impaired - something like $20-30 million a year in this community alone.

Oh, boo-hoo you and your poor little tax dollars. Your categorization of these mental health issues as "voluntary substance abuse problems" is so woefully ignorant that it is no wonder people like Ralph go untreated for so long.

9/30/2007 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, vagrants will just move to Isla Vista, where they live in a little gully right behind the Elementary School. Some locals out there are kept busy by the problem. Most people don't even know Isla Vista has kids, several thousand in fact.

Hope we don't end up with a child molester living out there. In 1980 a drifter (Malcolm Robbins) kidnapped, molested, and killed a 6-year-old out there.

But at least they'd be out of the downtown!

9/30/2007 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the blame for the city council coming from? The homeless have been a issue in town for quite a while and there was a incident like this back in the 80's except the guy was waving samuri swords then. And the great stop the homeless campaign from back then that led to the city being lampooned in Doonesbury and Martin Sheen offering to bus homeless to SB.

This event ended well kudos to the SBPD for the restraint they showed but did all the angry anti council people just move to town a few years ago?

9/30/2007 5:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Santa Monica's more diversified economy has allowed the city, even with the homeless mess, still has the ability to provide more police protection than SB does. At some point the SB tourism industry--eg. bed taxes and retail that we base our economy on--will be affected by these repeated incidents, then the business community will realize the current administration has really become a liability. By then it will be too late here, too.

9/30/2007 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Latest rumor about Bermant's Paseo Chapala which was approved as "work force" housing in the $600-700,000 range, including a few really crummy, small dark and unappealing "inclusionary units" to get this extra bonus density is that people are snatching these "workforce" housing places up for over $1 million starting to turn them into SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTALS!!

Oooops, the city council blew it again and trashed up the project for "critical first responder" workdforce, but for more tourists.

But at least they will spend money downtown and the new landlord owners will take a hard line on the vagrants and bums that have taken over downtown.

They now have vested property interests to protect to keep those short-term renters paying premium price.

So maybe it is not all bad. However, granting bonus density and getting SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTALS in return is just one more example of the city council's constant "progressive" policy blunders that get repeated over and over again in this town.

Time for common sense thinkers running this city - not addled feel-gooders who get skunked everytime they try to socially engineer this town into their feel-good version of fantasy land.

IT IS TIME FOR COMMON SENSE; NOT MORE NONSENSE. Put some adults on this city council. Thank you very much.

9/30/2007 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to Santa Barbara Carrillo Street entrance:

-- bunch of RV's permanently living on the streets

--- city sponsored half-way house for vagrants who get a free hand out from the city and have no intention of finding the other half

--- site of Ralph's market with vagrant brandishing gun

--- site of Sak' 5th Avenue gang murder

And you have not even hit State Street yet.

A tale of two cities.

9/30/2007 7:38 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

This post is NOT about the city council race and they have nothing to do with what happened -- save it for later!

9/30/2007 11:38 PM  
Anonymous Trying to keep on topic said...

1.) I'm very happy for the outcome.
2.) KEYT appeared to have been accosted by the police, more than and once and once by an AKxx (?) toting law enforcer.
3.) If you didn't see the full KEYT coverage you can't have an opinion on the above.
4.) For those who did see the coverage do you think that KEYT was interfereing with police activity that required being moved?

10/01/2007 6:56 AM  
Blogger Citizen Stringer said...

Thanks to On-Topic above for being so. KEYT simply seemed to want a direct view of the perp, which also would result in the other way for a direct line of sight between the perp's gun and the Palm.

The police try to prevent that, but they also gain a public relations bonus by no live news cameras aiming directly at the perp who was in the sights of many police guns himself.

The police rifles are called an AR-15, which are a firearms descendant of the military M-16 rifle. Look it up at Wikipedia or elsewhere.

This incident showed that the Santa Barbara police still can do their job well and only shoot when a true threat exists, but this also shows the extent and growing problem of the walking around, mentally ill homeless population in the city.

10/01/2007 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An election ploy, nothing else.

10/01/2007 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A shoot out would have been more exciting. Maybe next time. Sigh

10/01/2007 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw a drunk guy screaming at a couple of skateboard-riding teens on upper State this morning. He was filthy, frightening and profane, and trying to knock the kids off their boards. Just another little glimpse of the new Santa Barbara where crazies rule and intimidate and we're just supposed to do what about it exactly?

10/02/2007 9:34 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

"Just another little glimpse of the new Santa Barbara where crazies rule and intimidate"

Yeah, Wendy's not the only one.

"and we're just supposed to do what about it exactly?"

As a witness to an assault, you are required to report it to the police.

10/03/2007 2:25 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de santa barbara said...

Below is a link from the Independent article with 4 posts. Please read the last post. If accurate it may explain a bit about "who" Ralph is. (not that anyone is paying attention to this post anymore.)

http://www.independent.com/news/2007/sep/29/man-gun-downtown-ralphs-arrested/

10/07/2007 7:54 AM  

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