Woman with machete barricades herself inside motorhome, sets it on fire

July 22, 2016


A reportedly suicidal Santa Barbara County woman barricaded herself inside her motorhome on Wednesday, set the home on fire, brandished a machete and instructed deputies to shoot her.

Shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday, a man called 911 to report that his 50-year-old daughter, who lives in a motor home on the 6600 block of Stagecoach Road, was making suicidal statements.

When deputies arrived, the woman barricaded herself inside the motorhome and set the it on fire. She extinguished the fire after the motorhome filled with smoke but before the blaze began to spread.

Deputies spoke to the woman through an open window and tried to talk the woman into coming out peacefully. She refused, threatened to kill herself, brandished a machete and told deputies they would have to shoot her if they entered her home.

Following about 80 minutes of negotiations, the woman agreed to come out and speak with a mental health counselor while fire personnel inspected the motorhome.

Emergency personnel then transported the woman to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation. Deputies did not arrest the woman because she was suffering from an apparent mental health issue, the sheriff’s office says.

However, sheriff’s officials are forwarding the case to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and recommending arson charges be filed. The sheriff’s office is currently withholding the woman’s name.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Very, very interesting how–when the skin color and gender shifts–how the treatment of the person does too: AND the remarks of people commenting on Cal Coast News shifts also! Of course-no one would EVER consider looking back at the Hispanic man that was shot recently to see if this is true, but I am White and noticed it immediately. If people actually looked, compared, and carefully considered the two-then they might have to face the fact they did this too….and we cannot HAVE THAT HAPPENING!

I was driving and listening to XM Radio the other day (comedy station) when a fake “news report” burst into the broadcast. “Ted-we’ve got breaking news here! Someone, somewhere in the United States has apparently been accountable for their actions!” (Ted responding): Tina THAT IS INCREDIBLE! Let’s make that a Special Edition Story at 5pm….this is hard to believe!”.

Seems a few people are running on ignorance regarding the current L.E./M.H system.

First off, there are some mental illnesses that tells the afflicted person that “there is nothing wrong with them and their behaviors, its societies lack of understanding.”

Upon being “caught/stopped”, the person use to skip the judicial consequences by having or claiming to have a mental illness and then handed over to Mental Health and that was the end of it. Except Mental Health could only give services on a voluntary basis to the client.

This would result in continuing acting out. “Here Kitty, Kitty”. Remember, this person doesn’t think anything is wrong with them! And as a result of no treatment, the behaviors would continue and escalate ,often scaring neighbors and families for months or years.

But currently their are two good and effective roads that L.E/M.H. have. The D.A. can refer/assign the case to Mental Health Court. Or if they have multiple 5150s might qualify for Laura’s Law.

The point being is that those with a mental illness that as stated above, doesn’t think there is anything wrong with their behavior. Often these people need, figuratively a judicial gun to their heads, that states if you don’t obey the contract with mental health then you go to jail, where you will receive mental health help in the jail.

In Most of those situations, the person will choose to comply rather than be locked up.

I for one hope that the D.A. with cooperation with her attorney assign her to Mental Health Court. The goal is to treat their mental illness and avoid jail.

Sheriff’s are recommending that charges be filed. This is called “Criminalization of the Mentally Ill” and it is sad and unfortunate that our culture continues to think this is the way to address mental health. One would think that our society would have accepted a humane and compassionate approach to mental health by this point. Let’s face it. Law enforcement does not know how to deal with a person having a mental health crisis. There are trained licensed professionals who have years of experience talking to a person in such a crisis but they are often not a part of a response team when law enforcement is called. I am just glad that this woman was given the opportunity to talk to such a counselor. Local governments need more trained counselors and should adopt the practice of some police departments and have such a person ride along with officers who are responding to calls. This woman should be able to access mental health resources and get all treatment she needs to combat her illness. Turning her into a criminal helps no one. Law enforcement needs to rethink their views on mental health.

HUH? You want a shrink in every patrol car? You see, when you get a call of a

“man with a gun” or a “Woman threatening suicide”, you do not have the option of going by a shrinks house and waiting for her/him to get dressed before responding to the scene. All police agencies have trained negotiators that are well trained to deal with mentally ill, as witnesses by the success of this case!

I am referring to Crisis workers with County Mental Health who are available 24/7 on call. How did you get from my post that I was suggesting a psychiatrist in every patrol car? You may want to read my post again. Many cities are now having crisis workers ride along with LE to calls regarding suicide and other mental health crisis. Those with a mental health issue need treatment. Turning them into a criminal is not the answer.

Recommending that arson charges be filed on this obviously disturbed individual is not going to help her get her life back together, its just going to give her another reason for not wanting to live. They just threw another hurdle in front of her on her road to recovery, she doesn’t need something else she can’t cope with. Thankful they did not arrest her and hopefully she will get some much needed help, but for crying out loud show a little compassion.

I think you missed a point. If law enforcement just walks away, no one has a “hold” on her. No reason to get help. If charges are filed they have an option of granting “Diversion”….. and if certain conditions are met (get MH aid) then charges are dismissed.

In our society, you can not force mental health assistance on any one. You can make life easier for them if accept it……

RE-OPEN the mental facilities to accommodate ALL those who can’t cope with American society. It’s the ONLY way to get these people help and stop the unwarranted , unnecessary, out of control violence and access to firearms.

The Democrats don’t want the facilities, the Republicans don’t want to pay for the facilities, and the Second Amendment, ignoring the “well-organized militia” part with the Founders opposed to a standing army and the new government later disbanding a Pennsylvania militia run by a nut-job, is absolute. The crazier you are the MORE guns you should have.

Crazy like you ignoring “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” part of the 2nd Amendment?

I completely agree. Clean facilities for non violent troubled souls with the medical help they surely need is long over due. Life is not always easy and the rough spots and hard parts of our society are too much for some. There is nothing wrong with providing the help they need. Even if some have to be brought in against their will. It’s the compassionate thing to do.