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Assault Suspect Arrested After 8-Hour Standoff
updated: Jan 09, 2014, 9:20 PM

Source: SBPD

Assault Suspect Arrested After 8-Hour Standoff with Police

Nicola Zeno Mollo Jr., age 39, of Santa Barbara, was arrested for multiple offenses stemming from an assault against a 61-year old female relative. A standoff lasting over 8-hours ensued when Mollo barricaded himself in his residence when confronted by officers.

On January 8, 2014 at 12:20 p.m., officers from the Santa Barbara Police Department responded to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital to contact the victim of a felony assault that occurred in the City of Santa Barbara. Investigation revealed that at approximately 11:30 a.m. that morning Mollo had been involved in an altercation with the victim who was visiting Mollo and others at his residence on the 800 block of Bath Street. The incident started when the victim observed Mollo repeatedly punching the family's 4-month old pit bull puppy and tried to intervene. Mollo responded by pointing a handgun at the victim, threatening to kill her, and then kicking her down a flight of concrete stairs. The victim sustained multiple injuries from the fall including a broken ankle. Other relatives transported her to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital and the incident was initially reported to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. When it was determined that the crime occurred in the City of Santa Barbara, SBPD officers responded to investigate.

SBPD detectives subsequently obtained a warrant for Mollo's arrest and a search warrant for his residence. Mollo is known to authorities in Santa Barbara; he has a history of violence that includes the use of a firearm and is affiliated with an outlaw motorcycle gang. This knowledge, combined with the fact that this most recent incident also involved the use of a firearm, prompted the deployment of the Santa Barbara Police Department's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and Crisis Negotiation Response Team (CNRT) in the warrant service. At approximately 6:00 p.m. investigators confirmed that Mollo was at his residence. Members of the SBPD SWAT team responded to that location in the department's armored vehicle and contacted several subjects there. All complied with instructions to exit except Mollo, who instead verbally threatened that he was in possession of an AK-47 rifle and barricaded himself inside the residence.

Members of the SBPD SWAT team and other officers evacuated the adjacent residences and instructed other nearby residents to shelter in place. The 800 block of Bath Street was closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. SBPD crisis negotiators communicated intermittently with Mollo via cell phone for approximately 3-hours attempting to convince him to surrender. After approximately 90-minutes of no communication with Mollo the SBPD SWAT team deployed tear gas into his residence. Another hour passed while SWAT officers repeatedly gave instructions over loudspeaker for Mollo to surrender; however there was still no response. Mollo's residence was ventilated and shortly thereafter SWAT officers started to make entry. Upon doing so they were confronted by Mollo who was wielding a machete. Mollo was shot by a less-than-lethal projectile which prompted him to retreat back into the upstairs portion of his residence and barricade himself again. The SWAT team deployed the department's crisis negotiation throw phone to Mollo and CNRT negotiators were able to resume a dialogue with him. At 2:25 a.m. Mollo exited the residence and surrendered. When officers made entry into Mollo's residence it was discovered that he had filled the premise with natural gas from the kitchen stove and had left a burning candle nearby. Investigation later revealed that Mollo brandished the machete at SWAT officers because he wanted to provoke them into shooting and killing him. Investigation further revealed that he filled his residence with gas because he wanted to harm the officers and to set the premise on fire.

The threat of fire and explosion was mitigated by the Santa Barbara City Fire Department. Once the scene was rendered safe SBPD detectives executed the search warrant, the street and sidewalks were opened, and the affected residents were allowed to return to their homes. The handgun that Mollo used to threaten his relative in the initial incident has not been recovered.

Mollo is currently being held without bail at the Santa Barbara County Jail on the following charges: assault with a deadly weapon, battery resulting in bodily injury, brandishing a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, and terrorist threats. Additional charges may be filed.

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SBPD Activity in the 800 block of Bath St. It sounds like some type of stand off. If you don't need to be in that area stay away for now. (01/09/14)
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