Police arrested two people last Saturday after one of them allegedly used a loaded handgun to pistol whip an Isla Vista partygoer and the other allegedly attempted to conceal the weapon from investigating officers.
At approximately 11:44 p.m., an unidentified woman flagged down Isla Vista Foot Patrol officers on the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive to report a fight in an upstairs apartment nearby. She told the police someone had been hit with a bottle. When officers arrived, several people leaving the apartment said there was a man inside with a gun.
Officers called for backup and entered the apartment, where they detained Chad Michael Reiber, 23. Witnesses told police Reiber had pulled out a black handgun and pistol-whipped a man who he was arguing with. He then pointed the weapon around the room as some partygoers ran out of the apartment and others hid behind a bar.
Following an investigation, police recovered a .38-caliber semi-automatic pistol from a garbage can on the outdoor balcony where they detained Westly John Crouch, 23, who was allegedly trying to conceal it.
IVFP Sgt. Tom Walton said when the dispatcher announced a gun might be involved, nearly all officers converged on the apartment.
“This was a very serious incident,” Walton said. “We’re really lucky nobody got shot.”
According to police reports and witness accounts, the altercation began when Reiber bumped into another man in the living room of a party. After a brief argument, Reiber, who was previously arrested for battery in March 2004, pulled out a pistol and struck the other man. Doctors required several stitches to close the man’s wound.
After a witness said Reiber had a gun, officers frisked Reiber, but did not turn up the pistol. When they moved to frisk him again, Reiber admitted to having a gun in his cargo pocket, but officers still did not find it, and immediately suspected he had handed it off to someone else.
Upon a search of the living room and balcony, an officer discovered the pistol in a garbage can next to where officers had seen Crouch standing when they first arrived. Police said they found the gun cocked with one round in the chamber and five more bullets loaded in its magazine.
Although an officer had seen Crouch drop something into the can before police entered the apartment, according to reports, the officer assumed the man was discarding an alcoholic beverage as several other people in the area had done when they saw police coming.
Reiber was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a firearm and resisting arrest – the latter charge stemming from a lengthy struggle with the arresting officers. The officers used pepper spray to subdue Reiber. His bail was set at $30,000.
Crouch was charged with destroying or concealing evidence. His bail was set at $25,000.
In addition, both men were charged on three other weapons counts.
Police said while the pair was being taken to jail, Crouch implored Reiber to confess his crime, in addition to making other incriminating statements, to which Reiber repeatedly told him to keep his mouth shut.