An unidentified female opened fire at a local mail sorting facility last night, killing six people and seriously wounding at least one other before turning the gun on herself.
Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. spokesman Sgt. Erik Raney said six postal service employees were killed in the shooting, and SWAT teams found one woman with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound while searching the postal service facility at approximately 2 a.m. today. At least one other person was hospitalized at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with serious injuries. Raney said authorities have completed their preliminary investigation of the scene, and do not believe there is any continued threat to local residents.
Raney said officers from the Goleta Valley Bureau responded to reports of shots fired at the mail sorting facility, located at 400 Storke Rd. in Goleta, at 9:15 p.m. Monday. Upon arrival, officers found two deceased victims in front of the building’s loading area, and received reports of more gunshot victims inside the building and additional shots being fired in the area, Raney said. SWAT teams from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. and the Santa Barbara Police Dept. were deployed to the scene, where they located an additional four gunshot victims, one of whom appeared to be the shooter.
Officials believe the shooter is a former employee of the mail sorting facility, Raney said.
Jesus Delgado, a postal service employee who was in the building at the time of the shootings, said he did not witness any gunfire but fled the facility in the ensuing panic.
“We didn’t know what was going on, everyone just ran outside,” Delgado said. “The cops got there about two or three minutes later.”
Delgado was among those detained at the Santa Barbara County Fire Dept.’s Station 11 across the street from the post office in the wake of the incident. He said he was interviewed by a police investigator, but could not provide any information about the actual shootings.
“I didn’t see anything, because I was working in the docks,” Delgado said. “The people who saw something work in the letter mail area.”
Alanna Snedigar, a second-year undeclared student, said she lives near the scene of the shooting. Snedigar said she and her roommates closely monitored the events as they unfolded.
“We heard they haven’t caught the [shooter] yet, which is scary since we live like half a mile away from the shooting,” she said. “We closed all the window shades and locked all the doors. My roommates heard the gunshots, so that’s kind of freaky. So we’ve been watching the news.”
Numerous police cars and officers blocked off Storke Road around the scene of the incident, and Raney said law enforcement contacted nearby residents and businesses like Home Depot and Kmart to alert them about the danger.
A woman who declined to give her name was stuck at the intersection of El Colegio Road and Storke Road during the shooting. She said officers would not let her go home to her apartment on Storke Road, but she did not mind waiting until the incident was over.
“It’s a shootout, I wouldn’t go there,” the woman said. “I thought it was an accident like the usual drunk driver, but I’d rather be safe, I don’t want to be sorry. I used to feel very safe here – that’s why I come home late. Now, I don’t know. ”
Several helicopters with searchlights circled the area during the search for the suspect, and Community Service Organization officers kept people from entering and leaving the Francisco Torres Residence Hall, located about a block away from where the shootings occurred.
Lindsay Serra, a first-year art history major who lives in FT, said the building’s residents were not allowed to leave their rooms during the incident.
“Our [Resident Assistant] went up and down the hall and told [people] to stay in their rooms and not go in any study rooms or go in the hall,” Serra said. “They told us to sit tight. She told us not to leave the building.”
Senior sociology major Jacob Pierce said he and his friends tried to convince officers to let them through the barricades so they could get McDonald’s.
“The officers told us there was a killer between us and our cheeseburgers at McDonald’s,” Pierce said.
-Matt Dozier contributed to this article