Three days after he allegedly stabbed a recent UCSB graduate in Isla Vista, police arrested Santa Maria resident David Hartsock on charges of attempted murder on Tuesday.
According to a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. press release, officers discovered recently graduated global studies major Paul Ozhekh in front of 6651 Sabado Tarde Rd. with two stab wounds to the back, one of which punctured his lung, on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. Following an investigation, officers discovered the suspect, 20-year-old Hartsock, was already in Santa Barbara County Jail custody for a driving under the influence charge he received after allegedly crashing his car on Highway 101 that same evening.
Ozhekh was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and received emergency surgery on Saturday morning. He was released Thursday and returned to his Modesto residence in healthy condition.
According to the press release, witnesses reported that 22-year-old Ozhekh and his friend were skateboarding down Sabado Tarde Road when the suspect allegedly began arguing with the victim.
Witnesses said the victim and the suspect were standing together on the street, arguing face to face, when the suspect allegedly stabbed Ozhekh twice and then fled the scene on foot.
Ozhekh said the entire street was quiet except for a crowd of three people who were allegedly arguing — two males and one female. One of the men, Ozhekh said, seemed as if he was hiding something behind his back.
He and his friend approached the group to make sure the two men were not going to hurt the woman, Ozhekh said.
“You know, I just care about other people,” Ozhekh said. “It was more for the girl. If it was two guys fighting, I would have let it go. It wasn’t like [my friend] and I were skating along and got into an altercation. It looked like they were about to kill someone. If they had stabbed that girl it would have been way worse than me. I’m glad it was me.”
As soon as he and his friend approached the group, Ozhekh said, the suspect began to get violent.
“The guy got really pissed off and started going nuts,” he said. “He grabbed me and pulled me and shanked me twice, once in the rib cage and once in the back.”
Once the ambulance came, Ozhekh said, he passed out on the ride to the hospital and received two blood transfusions.
“I got stabbed twice,” he said. “I heard that night someone else went in for the same thing and didn’t make it, so I’m pretty glad I did.”
Approximately an hour after the alleged stabbing, Hartsock crashed his car on Highway 101 and was subsequently arrested by the California Highway Patrol for driving under the influence.
Detectives investigating the stabbing later identified Hartsock as a possible suspect, according to the press release.
Ozhekh said he hopes the incident does not give UCSB and I.V. a bad reputation.
“People from UCSB don’t do this type of thing,” he said. “Anyone from UCSB has something to lose. They don’t do crazy things. They don’t pull knives out and fight with a bunch of people.”