In the aftermath of Tuesday’s shooting at a Guadalupe apartment complex where several suspects reportedly escaped after a man was shot in the arm, some residents expressed concern that an emergency shelter-in-place alert was not sent to cellphones in the area.
The shooting, which took place around 1:30 p.m., left a man with a nonlife-threatening shotgun wound to the arm. He was treated at the scene by Guadalupe Fire Department personnel and later transported to the hospital.
Guadalupe Police, the California Highway Patrol and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office responded, set up a perimeter around the area and began a search for the suspects who were reported to have escaped from the area.
Guadalupe Police Chief Michael Cash said it wasn’t clear exactly how many suspects there were.
Kermit McKenzie Intermediate School — which was placed on lockdown for an hour and a half Tuesday as a result of the shooting — sent out automated calls and texts to parents alerting them to the situation.
However, Guadalupe resident Andy Gutierrez said it concerned him that no message from the county’s Wireless Emergency Alert system was sent to residents advising them to shelter in place.
“My daughter lives by there, I’ve got my grandkids that go to school over there and for there to be no shelter-in-place warning saying there's someone with a gun — it’s very concerning,” said Gutierrez, who noted that alerts were sent out when triple homicide suspect David McNabb was barricaded with a weapon inside a home in Orcutt in December, and to alert residents to potential flash flooding during the recent storms. “It would have been nice to hear that that system worked for us. They do it for everyone else.”
Kelly Hoover, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, said Guadalupe Police didn’t request an alert, so there wasn't one.
Gutierrez expressed concern that an alert depended on Guadalupe Police making a request, especially when the city had a new police chief.
“We’ve got a new chief of police and he might not be familiar with the system so I don't want to fault the guy,” he said.
On Thursday, Guadalupe Police Chief Michael Cash said he was not familiar with the county’s emergency alert system and reached out to the Sheriff’s Office for more information.
Cash added, however, that he did not believe the situation rose to the level of needing an emergency alert.
“From the information we had and where we thought the person went — we didn’t think it rose to the level that a citywide alert was necessary,” he said. “Sometimes [an alert] can cause a panic and you have to consider, is it something people just want to know? Or is it something people need to know for their safety?”
Cash noted that the Guadalupe Flyer bus system was notified to halt service in the area of the shooting and that local schools were notified as well.
“We had enough resources out there for the area,” he said. “There were Sheriff’s Department vehicles and CHP. We had a helicopter. There was a great response and we think we handled it right.”
Cash said Guadalupe Police are continuing to investigate and collect evidence.
“Right now we’re trying to clear up some video and we do have one shotgun casing from the scene,” he said. “We had a K-9 out casing the high brush area and the riverbed, where we think the person might have gone.”
Any Guadalupe residents who have information about the incident should contact the Police Department at 805-343-2112
“Please give us a call — we’re still following up on any possible leads,” he said.