Following the death of assault victim Bradley Jones on Tuesday, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Sgt. Chris Pappas said police will be pursuing manslaughter charges against the alleged assailant.
Jones, a 19-year-old Santa Barbara City College student, slipped into a coma early Sunday after being punched in the face and hitting his head on the asphalt, Pappas said. He died at Santa Barbara Valley Cottage Hospital on Tuesday.
In connection with the assault, sheriff’s deputies arrested 20-year-old Slava Christopher Olsen Tuesday afternoon. Olsen is being held at Santa Barbara County Jail on $250,000 bail. Pappas said an investigation is ongoing.
John Romo, SBCC president, issued a campuswide statement Wednesday morning announcing that Jones had passed away.
“Brad had many friends at SBCC, a number of whom visited and provided support to him and his family at the hospital while he was in a coma,” the statement read. “[His] death is a sad and tragic consequence of what appears to be a serious escalation in violence during the weekends in Isla Vista.”
Romo said Jones was well-known and popular on the SBCC campus.
“It’s a very terrible and tragic situation,” Romo said. “Number one, we’re trying to be as supportive as possible of his family.”
Police said the altercation between Jones and Olsen began on the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde Road when Jones was walking with a small group of friends. Jones’ group encountered another group of approximately 20 individuals. After members from both groups got into a brief argument, two men including Olsen broke off from the larger group to follow Jones. Police said Olsen delivered the blow that knocked Jones backward into the street.
Starting Monday, Romo said a flag on the SBCC campus will fly at half-staff in memory of Jones. He said friends are planning a memorial service, but he did not know of a date.
Romo said he reads weekly reports detailing occurrences of crime in Isla Vista, reports he said were “distressing and shocking.”
In his statement to SBCC students and faculty, Romo said the pervasive pattern of binge drinking and violence in I.V. is a serious cause for concern.
“In essence, the reports reflect that the party scene in I.V. is turning increasingly ugly,” Romo said. “We are working with UCSB, the Sheriff’s Dept. and other groups to address the I.V. situation. Brad’s death makes it clear that there is still much work to be done. There may be valid reasons for conflict, but none for violence. We would urge you to reflect … on the responsibility we all share to take care of ourselves and each other, and to seek alternatives to violence.”