On November 14, 2023, around 5:30 p.m., Santa Barbara Police Officers were investigating a possible burglary that occurred to an apartment in the 300 block of West Mission Street.
During the investigation, officers contacted a witness in the immediate area who claimed to have a video recording of the alleged break-in.
Officers knocked on the front door of a witness who lived in a nearby apartment. The witness, who was using a walker, opened their door. While officers were talking to the witness at the threshold of the door, a man inside the same apartment as the witness, later identified as 47-year-old Jeremy Howell, appeared directly behind the witness, produced a handgun over the witness’s shoulder, and pointed the weapon at the two officers.
The officers immediately sought cover and drew their duty weapons. The witness was quick to grab Howell’s hand with the gun and push him back into the apartment, proclaiming to the officers that the weapon was a pellet gun.
The officers were able to quickly grab Howell and secure the possible firearm. This entire incident unfolded in a matter of seconds, and Howell was taken into custody at this time.
The officers used tremendous restraint during this incident and rapidly took into account the totality of the situation. It seemed that Howell was using the walker-bound resident as a “shield,” preventing officers from utilizing any form of force or the ability to defend themselves. These officers and all officers at the Santa Barbara Police Department hold the reverence of life in the highest regard.
Their quick thinking, training, and ability to examine this extremely intense situation allowed our officers to navigate the delicate balance between maintaining public safety, their safety, and preserving the sanctity of life. Santa Barbara police officers prioritize de-escalation whenever possible, demonstrating a commitment to resolving conflicts with minimal harm.
It was confirmed the firearm that was brandished was a loaded Co2 pellet gun. Thankfully, no one was injured during this incident, though this could have turned into a potentially deadly situation.
Howell was arrested for brandishing a replica firearm and assault on a peace officer and booked in Santa Barbara County Jail. His bail was set at $2500.