Teams of Santa Barbara County SWAT conducted multiple raids Thursday morning in connection with the double homicide in Goleta three weeks ago that claimed the lives of Jasper Pieter van der Meulen, 19, and Enzo Marino Rastelli, 19. Both had been shot while sitting in their car on Burtis Street, located near Hollister Elementary School.
Sheriff’s SWAT teams led at least two raids within Santa Barbara City limits, accompanied by more than six Santa Barbara Police officers as support. A press conference offering further details will take place today at 3 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Headquarters. It remains uncertain at this writing as to how many individual raids took place. One was at the intersection of Mission and Mountain on Santa Barbara’s Westside, where a high number of law enforcement officers in an equally large number of law enforcement vehicles swooped down upon the occupants of one dwelling. Officers involved declined to speak, explaining they did not wish to jeopardize other actions that they would be involved in elsewhere.
Van der Meulen was a UCSB freshman living in Isla Vista at the time of the shooting. He was still undeclared at UCSB but was considering a major in Economics with a possible minor in Geology as he has always loved rocks. Rastelli was attending Santa Barbara City College, where he was studying in its Culinary Arts program.
The shooting of Rastelli and Van der Meulen was the second double homicide to take place in the South Coast early this year. The first was a shooting on Liberty Street located on the city’s Eastside that police have characterized as having been gang related. The victims, Angel Castillo and Omar Montiel-Hernandez, were 17 and 18, respectively. That shooting took place a week before the Goleta incident and claimed two other victims who sustained nonfatal wounds.
A week prior to that, police reported a nonfatal stabbing that took place on De la Vina Street, which they also suspected was gang involved. A week after the Liberty Street shooting, police confirmed a spray of late-night gunfire by Castillo and Arrellaga streets. No one, they affirmed, was hit or injured. But the cluster of so many violent events that may be gang related has spooked law enforcement and those involved in gang intervention to such an extent the word “retaliation” itself was considered too inflammatory to utter.
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