Santa Barbara officer stops racially-charged knife attack
June 30, 2016
A Hispanic man attacked an African American homeless man with a knife while yelling racial slurs Tuesday evening in Santa Barbara. After an off-duty officer broke up the incident, the attacker told police that he thought the homeless man had taken his cigarettes. [KEYT]
The suspect is now facing attempted murder and hate crime charges, while the policeman is being praised for saving the life of the 34-year-old homeless man.
At around 8 p.m., Sgt. Todd Johnson was riding his bicycle home from work when saw a man at a bus stop lunging at another man with a knife. Johnson heard the attacker yelling racial slurs at the homeless man while trying to stab him.
Johnson got off his bike near the Santa Barbara Public Library, confronted the suspect, identified himself as an officer and pulled his gun. The sergeant also instructed bystanders to call 911 for police backup.
The attacker, 40-year-old Francisco Antonio Diego, then dropped his double edged knife. Officers arrived and arrested Diego, a resident of Miami. Investigators say Diego had just arrived in Santa Barbara, and he has an extensive criminal record in Florida.
Officers booked Diego in Santa Barbara County Jail with his bail set at $100,000.