A 13-year-old boy was arrested on Friday, Jan. 2, following a confrontation in Isla Vista that left a 16-year-old boy with a stab wound to the stomach.

Police say the 13-year-old confronted the 16-year-old victim and the victim’s 17-year-old male cousin in an alley between two apartment complexes on the 6600 block of Picasso Road. Witnesses told police there was an argument and a fistfight before the 13-year-old stabbed the 16-year-old. The injured teen was admitted to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital in stable condition. It is Nexus policy not to identify suspects, victims or witnesses who are under the age of 18.

According to police reports, the 13-year-old fled the scene after the stabbing and ran to his parents’ house on the 6600 block of Picasso Road. He changed his clothes at the residence but returned to the scene and told police he was the one they were looking for.

The 17-year-old helped his injured cousin back to his house, where a family member called 911. Isla Vista Foot Patrol officers arrived before an ambulance and performed first aid.

IVFP deputy G. Moore said the 13-year-old told police during questioning that he wrestled the knife from the 16-year-old and held it out in self-defense as the 16-year-old charged him. However, Moore said this account contradicts every other witness account, all of which describe the 13-year-old stabbing the 16-year-old, and not the 16-year-old running into the outstretched knife. Witnesses did not see which boy initially pulled out the knife.

A search of the crime scene and a nearby trash bin did not turn up the knife used in the stabbing, but police found the boy’s bloody clothes in his room. Police also found items in his room with monikers connecting the boy to the “Goleta 13,” a group the sheriff’s department categorizes as a criminal street gang.

According to police reports, the University of California Police Dept. arrested the same 13-year-old boy last month for driving without a license.

One witness told police the confrontation may have started because the 16-year-old was allegedly speaking poorly of local “gangsters.” The witness told police the 16-year-old often made fun of the 13-year-old and his associates, referring to them as “wannabe gangsters.”

Jacob Sandoval, health educator at the Isla Vista Teen Center, said the 13-year-old and his older sister came to the center on occasion.

“He had got in some trouble, but he was trying to get back into school,” Sandoval said. “[His arrest] is kind of surprising because last time I talked to him he was trying to get back on track.”