Police Announce Additional Arrests in Stearns Wharf Murder

By the Santa Barbara Police Department

Following the January 19th arrest of four suspects in Santa Barbara who were involved in the murder of Mr. Robert Gutierrez on December 9, 2022, at the base of Stearns Wharf, detectives continued their investigation to identify and bring to justice additional involved suspects. 

On February 16, 2023, the Santa Barbara Police Department, assisted by several outside agencies, served search and arrest warrants at multiple locations in Los Angeles County and Ventura County.  Three juveniles were arrested. Two are in custody for 187 PC, Murder and the third is in custody for Possession of a firearm and Accessory to murder.  A firearm was also recovered in [Thursday’s] search and arrest warrants. It is not known at this time if the firearm recovered was used in the commission of this crime.

Mr. Robert Gutierrez, a Camarillo resident, was an innocent bystander who was in Santa Barbara with his wife walking on Stearns Wharf when he was struck and killed by one of the rounds fired during an altercation between two groups of individuals at the base of the wharf.  

One group involved in the altercation has been identified as local Santa Barbara area residents with ties to a local Santa Barbara street gang.  The opposing group in the altercation has been identified as Ventura County residents with ties to Ventura County street gangs.

The Santa Barbara Police Department remains committed to ensuring every suspect that the evidence shows participated in the heinous murder of Mr. Gutierrez is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  

Anyone with information regarding this homicide investigation is asked to please call the Santa Barbara Police Department Detective Bureau at (805) 897-2347.

Three Juveniles Charged in Connection to the Stearns Wharf Homicide

Update by the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office


Santa Barbara County District Attorney John Savrnoch announced today that three juveniles have been charged in connection with the killing of Robert Gutierrez that occurred at Stearns Wharf on December 9, 2022.

Two of the juveniles, age 15, were charged with Murder in violation of Penal Code section 187(a) and with the special allegation that they discharged a firearm proximately causing death in violation of Penal Code section 12022.53(d). The third juvenile, age 16, was charged with being an accessory after the fact to the murder in violation of Penal Code section 32 and with illegal possession of an unregistered firearm in violation of Penal Code section 25850(a).

All three juveniles were arrested by Santa Barbara Police Department officers on Thursday, February 16, 2023. All remain in custody and are scheduled to be arraigned at the Santa Maria Juvenile Court on Tuesday, February 21, 2023.



 December 9, 2023: Fatal Shooting at Stearns Wharf

January 19, 2023: Police on Chino and Micheltorena

January 19, 2023: Police Activity on W. Canon Perdido

January 19, 2023: Helicopters Over the Mesa

 January 20, 2023: Sweeping Arrests Made in Stearns Wharf Homicide


Written by SBPDPIO

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  1. This should be national news. I’m so ashamed of our local government for burying information about the innocent bystander who was killed here. They didn’t need to provide details about their investigation, other than to say that it WAS GANG RELATED, but they hid details about the killing that happened here. Not just from locals but from tourists who came here during the holiday season. That’s unacceptable! People need to know what the crime stats are in places that they go to visit. If we really cared this much about tourism then our city needs to do MORE to provide a safe place for them to come to since keeping us locals safe and informed isn’t a priority.

    • I agree with you Doulie. I do believe the SBPD (and all police departments) need to do better in terms of transparency and de-escalation tactics, but with this one I think people are making a mountain out of a molehill. Noozhawk specifically is trying to make themselves important but it’s annoying and falling on deaf ears. They know more than anyone that details in active investigations are kept close until most suspects are apprehended. And if they’re going to throw heat on anyone, why not the Sheriff’s Office that is 10000x more shady than the P.D. Unless they’re chummy with Bill Brown.

  2. Perhaps the only thing the right and left can agree upon is that it has become common-place for the “powers that be” to spin the truth beyond recognition. Trust is only regained by telling the truth, as clearly and as completely as you can.
    City and police leadership? M. I. A. About a million miles south of that standard of truthfulness.
    What about when it’s hard to tell the truth cause some /other/ folks “might get the wrong idea” or something? … As Twain said: “Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest. ”

    • This may be the most asinine comment on this item. You do not judge the adultness of a child by the result of their conduct. We know that pre-adult brains do not process like fully formed ones. Whether it is stealing a candy bar or firing a gun, they do not “get it” yet. This is the basis for treating younger people differently. It is not the result of their act that makes that determination.

  3. The headline is questionable. “Murder” requires specific intent. If, as stated in the police summary, the victim was shot incidentally while the others engaged in a confrontation and fight. Generally such is likely to be either voluntary manslaughter or maybe second degree homicide with intent proven by willful and reckless conduct. (Murder is different from homicide. Homicide is the killing of another human by a human without ascribing guilt–could be intentional, permissible, consensual, accidental, privileged, and so forth.)

  4. It’s quite humorous to see all the SB busybodies up in arms trying to tell SBPD how to do their investigations. Were not numerous people arrested eventually? Is it hard to understand that release of information would of possibly compromise the ongoing investigation that resulted in all the arrests? You tell me…how could it be handled differently? And as far as is there a gang problem in SB? People it is 2023, there are gangs in every city in this nation. Believe me, as a person who has lived in other cities where there TRULY is a gang problem such as Oxnard and LA, YOU HAVE NO MAJOR GANG PROBLEM HERE! Relax and enjoy this beautiful city! And Bill M….you should be ashamed of yourself the way you go after SBPD without thinking of the consequences. Your reminding me more and more of Fox News.

  5. Here’s the facts: Gang shootout at Stearns Wharf. Innocent tourist gets killed in the crossfire. SBPD hesitates to release information about the crime. SB is a very tourist-reliant city economically. And lastly, SB has a growing public sentiment of being antagonistic to our police officers (remember, they are people just like you) – the “defund the police” crowd. You know who you are. Thrown in the ultra liberal state we live in where criminals get chance after chance ti get outta jail free, and this kind of crime won’t stop anytime soon.
    We’ve set up a situation where the cops have a no win situation. Don’t blame them, the officers on the street I mean. If anything, blame the mayor and sure, also the Chief. Take a look at who you voted for and their policies on crime in past elections. Then think forward.

  6. It’s high time for some to stop actually believing that these very real crimes are some sort of television show. Expecting crimes to be investigated by the SBPD and solved within an hour with commercial breaks every 12 minutes or so simply is not how things work. Instead of being emotional about crime, LE has to look at the cold hard facts and take into account legal aspects. Knee-jerk reactions are not helpful, and neither is telling LE how to do their job because of how you “feel.” Just let them do their job and stay the heck out of it unless you yourself are involved in some shape, form, or matter.

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