A Montecito resident, who threatened to blow up his residence in the 1300 block of Virginia Road early yesterday morning, was taken into custody by members of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Special Enforcement team after a five hour negotiation period. Sixty-six-year-old David Tallman called 9-1-1 at approximately 3:15 a.m. and told Sheriff’s dispatchers he had several acetylene tanks which are highly flammable, and that he was going to blow up his residence which was located near other homes and adjacent to the 101 freeway. He also claimed to have firearms and ammunition.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office personnel responded and included members of the Hostage Negotiation Team, Special Enforcement Team and Bomb Squad. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Montecito Fire Protection District, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and American Medical Response.
At approximately 4:15 a.m., 138 reverse 9-1-1 calls were sent out to nearby residents instructing them to evacuate. An evacuation center was set up at All Saints by the Sea Episcopal Church. Freeway access to Olive Mill Road was shut down. Coast Village Road was closed for several blocks from Olive Mill Road to Coast Village Center as was Virginia Road. As talks with Tallman progressed, a reverse 9-1-1 was sent out to the same group of residents at 7:15 a.m. instructing anyone who had not evacuated to shelter in place or to call the Sheriff’s Office to be escorted out of the area.
At approximately 8:10 a.m. a fire ignited inside the residence and the 101 freeway was shut down at Olive Mill Road for a brief period as a safety precaution. Shortly after the fire broke out, the suspect was successfully negotiated out of his residence and was taken into custody. The Montecito Fire Protection District declared the fire out at 8:49 a.m.
Sheriff’s and fire investigators searched Tallman’s home and found two small acetylene tanks and one oxygen tank which he allegedly used to make jewelry. They did not find any firearms or ammunition.
Tallman was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on felony charges of making criminal threats and resisting arrest. The Montecito Fire Protection District is investigating the cause of the fire that broke out inside the residence.