Santa Maria police stand off with suspects, school placed on lockdown

John C. Bright

A domestic dispute in Santa Maria on Friday morphed into a report of shots fired and a standoff between police and an armed suspect, according to the city’s police department. In the process, a nearby elementary school was placed on lockdown.

At about 9:30 a.m., a witness reported to Santa Maria police that a dispute between a man and a woman could be heard at a home in the 1300 block of Seaward Drive and that it sounded like there were several gun shots fired. Officers then arrived at the scene and requested that the occupants leave the home, but they refused to do so.

While standing just outside the home, a man tried to provoke a lethal confrontation with the officers, a Santa Maria Police Department press release states. Officers responded by deploying a less-than-lethal sponge projectile in an attempt to get the male suspect to surrender.

The man and woman then retreated back inside the home, prompting crisis negotiators to pick up with attempts to convince the suspects to surrender.

Just after 1 p.m., officers managed to take both suspects into custody without further incident. Officers booked John C. Bright, 48, into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of resisting arrest, possession of an assault weapon and possession of a silencer.

Police will forward a criminal complaint against the female suspect to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. Authorities have not yet identified the female suspect, nor disclosed what charges she is facing.

During the standoff, officials placed Taylor Elementary School on lockdown. Officials said they did so as a precautionary measure.