One embarrassed Santa Barbara resident learned the value of honesty – as well as handgun safety locks – this weekend after blaming his accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound on the hand of an imaginary attacker.
After unintentionally shooting himself, 23-year-old Alfredo Solis and his brother Juan, 20, lied to officers and fabricated a gunfight, said Sgt. Erik Raney, spokesman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. Although the men provided false information to officers, Raney said no charges are being sought against them.
“Juan and Alfredo were embarrassed by the incident and agreed to the fabricated story of an ambush to save them from further embarrassment,” Raney said.
Juan Solis called 9-1-1 at approximately 6:20 p.m. on Sunday, claiming that his car had been ambushed and fired upon by unknown assailants as he was driving with his brother near a shooting range at Arroyo Burro Road, Raney said. Juan Solis told investigators that his brother Alfredo, who was driving the vehicle, was shot in the hand during the “attack,” Raney said.
“Solis further claimed that they returned fire with their own firearm and then drove to the hospital,” Raney said.
However, after a quick investigation, detectives realized that the men were not telling the truth, Raney said.
“Sheriff’s detectives called in to investigate the shooting quickly found inconsistencies in the brothers’ stories,” Raney said.
The single bullet hole found in the car appeared to have been caused by a firearm discharged from inside the car, Raney said. Additionally, the Solis’ firearm was nowhere to be found.
Juan Solis admitted in a subsequent interview that his brother had accidentally shot himself in the hand while preparing to shoot his handgun out the window of the vehicle, Raney said. The Solis brothers also admitted to hiding their firearm, which was recovered later that night.
Alfredo Solis underwent surgery on his hand at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and the injury was not considered life-threatening, Raney said.