Attempted Murder Suspect May Have Fled Region
Source: Santa Barbara Police Department
The Santa Barbara Police Department is providing additional context to an earlier media release regarding a high-profile attempted murder investigation.
Police are requesting the public’s assistance with any information that could lead to the apprehension of 41-year old Jaime Soto Hernandez of Ojai – wanted for attempted murder.
On Thursday, July 9, 2020 at approximately 6:30 P.M., the Santa Barbara Police Department’s Combined Communications Center fielded several frantic 911 calls reporting a Hispanic male in his 40’s brandishing a weapon, described as an AK-47-type assault rifle, on the patio of a restaurant in the 600 block of North Milpas Street. Patrol Officers saturated the area within two minutes of being dispatched.
Video surveillance corroborates witnesses’ statements that Soto confronted a female -- in what is now classified as a domestic violence assault. Soto and the woman exchanged words at a restaurant table. The assailant then pointed the assault rifle at the woman, manipulated the firearm and attempted to fire. The firearm possibly malfunctioned. Soto fled the scene in a late-model GMC truck just prior to the Police Department’s arrival. Both the victim and the suspect reside outside the Santa Barbara area.
Santa Barbara Police Detectives partnered with a cadre of Southern California allied agencies to work through the night to bring Soto into custody. However, he eluded capture. The investigation did recover a firearm magazine containing twenty-four 7.62mm rounds. It is believed that the magazine was paired with the weapon that was used in the commission of the crime. The suspect’s vehicle was located later the same evening in the Los Angeles area.
To date, Soto remains outstanding. Police have reason to believe that Soto is no longer in the area. However, it is also believed that some of Soto’s regional associates may know his new whereabouts. Police ask anyone with additional information on Soto to contact Santa Barbara Police Detective Megan Harrison at 805-897-2343. You may remain anonymous.
July 10, 2020: Police Seeking Suspect Who Brandished Firearm at Restaurant