Local authorities’ search for the man responsible for this week’s South Hall incident ended Tuesday evening with the suspect’s removal to a psychiatric facility.
According to a UCSB Police Dept. press release, the man was taken into custody after officers issued him a citation for prowling outside of an Isla Vista sorority house. On the scene, authorities determined — based on the subject’s bizarre comments and demeanor — that the individual required psychiatric treatment and contacted Santa Barbara County Crisis & Recovery Emergency Services. The man was then housed pending a psychiatric evaluation. Officials did not reveal the man’s name owing to his mental state, but did confirm that he is a current undergraduate student at UCSB.
“The Sherriff Dept. responded to reports from some sorority residents in I.V. of a subject who was attempting to enter without permission,” Assistant Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Paul Desruisseaux said. “After a request for assistance from some sororities, the Sheriff Dept. took the individual into their custody. … They took the person in for a mental health evaluation. This was not an arrest.”
The detainment marked the end of a two-day search for the suspect, whose unusual behavior prompted Monday’s lockdown and evacuation of South Hall. The man, who avoided authorities’ room-by-room search of South Hall, reportedly harassed individuals at several campus locations Tuesday before police picked him up in Isla Vista.
Reports have surfaced from students and university staff that he was seen exhibiting unusual behavior at Storke Plaza, the University Bookstore, the Recreation Center and Davidson Library throughout the day prior to his encounter with the law.
Christine Olson, a third-year psychology major, said she had a bizarre encounter in Davidson Library on Tuesday with a man matching the description of the student who is now in custody. Olson was studying on the fourth floor when a man approached her and introduced himself as a popular comic book character.
“He came over and introduced himself as Commissioner Gordon, and asked if I knew anything about the South Hall incident,” Olson said. “I asked him why he was asking these questions, since he was kind of off. He said, ‘I’m the commissioner and I’m trying to find this guy.’ After he left, I looked him up online to see if there was actually a Commissioner Gordon in Santa Barbara County, but I could only find stuff on Batman.”
The man also paid a visit to the UCSB Bookstore, where he continued to act oddly toward bookstore employees before purchasing a cruiser bicycle.
“He asked me, ‘So did you see what happened?’ and pointed at [yesterday’s] Nexus story,” Polly Jewett, a fourth-year business economics major and cashier at the UCSB Bookstore, said. “He had the most intense eye contact ever.”
The man proceeded to purchase a cruiser bike with a credit card, Jewett said, signing the receipt with enough force to rip the paper. She said he then strewed a stack of playing cards near the bookstore.
“After he left, he slammed his Nexus into the trash can so hard, we heard it inside with the doors closed,” Jewett said. “He left cards in the doorway — I’m pretty sure they were aces. That’s when my supervisor called security.”
“It was really weird,” Jewett said.