Video by Benson Chen
Deltopia violence led to riots in Isla Vista streets tonight after assaults on police and multiple stabbings prompted law enforcement to subdue crowds with tear gas and riot gear.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff spokesperson Kelly Hoover said the “civil unrest” began on the 6700 block of Del Playa Drive at approximately 9:30 p.m. when a UCSB Police Department officer was struck in the head with a backpack containing bottles of alcohol. Hoover said at least five sheriff’s deputies were injured by thrown bottles and bricks and at least two incidents of assault with a deadly weapon were confirmed earlier in the evening.
Law enforcement formed a barricade and dispersed crowds with tear gas and rubber bullets as bottles, bricks and rocks were thrown, car windshields were destroyed and dumpsters and trash cans were moved into the street. Rioters also burned several mattresses, tore down street signs and damaged multiple police vehicles.
A Santa Barbara County Sherriff department officer announced repeatedly that those present were part of an “unlawful assembly” and warned bystanders to go indoors as crowds in the street chanted “fuck the police” and “America.” After police had driven people off of Del Playa and shut down the street to the public, focus shifted to nearby Sabado Tarde Road, Camino Pescadero and Camino Del Sur where similar incidents were occurring.
Hoover said additional officers were brought in from agencies across Santa Barbara and Ventura County, and order was restored after several hours. Over 100 people were arrested throughout the day, including 18 during the unrest, and 44 people were transported to the hospital for injuries, she said.
A student was also hospitalized after being shot in the leg by an officer, according to an eyewitness account, although law enforcement has not confirmed the incident.