The UC Santa Barbara Police Department arrested a UCSB student on Jan. 21 on felony and misdemeanor charges of arson and vandalism in the Tropicana Gardens residence hall.

Tropicana Gardens is a privately managed residence hall that houses UCSB students in its 109 furnished suites. Daily Nexus File Photo

According to UCSB Police Department (UCPD) Public Information Officer Dan Wilson, the student, Angus Hamilton, burned multiple apartment entry doors within the complex by setting fire to paper fliers affixed to the doors. The arson took place sometime between 1 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 21 when residents began reporting the fires, Wilson said.

The fires caused minor damage to the doors but did not spread further. UCPD responded to the scene without assistance from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

“The fire to the affixed papers caused damage to the doors but the heat sources did not cause the apartment doors to become engulfed,” Wilson said in a statement to the Nexus.

Hamilton received a felony charge for arson of an inhabited structure and a misdemeanor charge for vandalism. UCPD booked Hamilton at the Santa Barbara Main Jail with a total bail of $252,500.

Tropicana Gardens Executive Director Joe Hill confirmed the case as active to the Nexus but deferred further comment to UCPD, the agency leading the investigation.

The Santa Barbara County Superior Court scheduled Hamilton’s arraignment for March 1 with judge Raimundo Montes de Oca presiding.

The California penal code classifies arson that causes an inhabited structure to burn as a violent felony, and a conviction is punishable by up to nine years in jail.

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the Feb. 2, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Nisha Malley
Nisha Malley (she/her/hers) is the County News Editor for the 2022-23 school year. Previously, Malley was an Assistant News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at