LOCAL L.A. Now

Fewer than 10% cited, held at spring break riot are tied to UCSB

Fewer than 10% of the more than 400 citations and arrests made during a massive party-turned-riot in Isla Vista over the weekend were tied to students at nearby UC Santa Barbara, authorities said, reinforcing arguments from locals that outsiders were mostly responsible for the mayhem.

According to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, 130 people were arrested Saturday night during "Deltopia," an annual, unsanctioned row of parties in Isla Vista next to the university. Of those arrested, just 16 reported being from UCSB, the department said.

Out of the combined 412 citations and arrests made that night, 376, or 91%, were not affiliated with UCSB, university Chancellor Henry Yang said in a statement.

Another 10 people arrested said they were from Santa Barbara City College, the Sheriff's Department reported.

“It concerns all of us that our outstanding and dedicated students, and our great university, are being defined by the actions of people who do not share our commitment to the community in which we enjoy living, studying, working, and raising our families,” Yang said. “But we cannot direct all the responsibility for what happened toward outsiders.  As residents of Isla Vista, and as neighbors, we have an important role to play in ensuring that both our campus and IV are a safe and welcoming community.”

Desmond Louis Edwards, 17, of Los Angeles has been charged in connection with the riot. In fact, authorities say, Edwards’ encounter with deputies immediately preceded the crowd turning on them. Prosecutors plan to try him as an adult.

Deputies said they were responding to a fight within Deltopia and were trying to arrest Edwards when he swung his backpack full of liquor bottles and hit a deputy in the head. The deputy required 20 stitches.

As other deputies rushed in to help, the crowd began throwing bricks, rocks and bottles, officials say. The party, which attracted a crowd estimated at between 20,000 and 25,000 people, quickly escalated into a riot.

Revelers broke windows and pulled out stop signs as an estimated 190 law enforcement officers from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties worked to regain control. Authorities used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. More than 100 people were arrested and several deputies were injured.

Fifty people were taken to hospitals and 26 of them were injured during the riot, officials said. The four deputies injured suffered head or hand injuries after being hit with thrown objects.

Despite public grumbles from the local community that outsiders were mostly to blame for the riot -- and stain on the area's reputation -- some called on students and residents to assume some of the responsbility.

UC Santa Barbara student association President Jonathan Abboud and Vice President Kyley Scarlet issued a statment after the melee, saying it was time to stop "the habit of pushing the blame onto figurative and literal out-of-towners" and instead "take ownership of Isla Vista's future."

Despite all the arrests and citations, authorities say there could be more people that need to be held accountable. The Sheriff’s Department is reviewing footage from surveillance cameras erected before the event in hopes more people can be identified.

Anyone who has video of the incident can email it to video@sbsheriff.org or call the sheriff’s Special Investigations Division at (805) 681-4175. 

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @josephserna

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