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Next-Door Neighbor Recounts Officer-Involved Shooting

Suspect Shot Multiple Times at San Andres Street Sober Living Home


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Santa Barbara police officer shot a 26-year-old suspect multiple times after the man allegedly assaulted the officer with a shard of glass around 11:30 p.m. on Friday at Stalwart House, a sober living and recovery home at 1227 San Andres Street. Officers were responding to several 9-1-1 calls of a subject brandishing a deadly weapon inside the residence. The suspect, Andrew Furst, is expected to survive, police spokesperson Sgt. Riley Harwood said, and the officer was not injured.

Few official details about the incident have been released, but next-door neighbor Celeste Barber, an English instructor at Santa Barbara City College, said she saw the Friday night confrontation unfold from her upstairs window.

Barber said she called 9-1-1 after she heard a verbal altercation and the sound of breaking glass. She said she then heard a man’s voice yell, “He has a weapon!” Within minutes, Barber said, police officers arrived with flashlights and a K-9 unit. She said it was very dark, but saw three to five officers gather on the property and one yell “Come out now!” multiple times. She said she then heard about five gunshots, followed by a moaning noise. Barber then saw a man propped up on a stretcher — who “looked conscious” — being wheeled out to the street. Barber said one of the police officers looked like his hand might have been bleeding, and that he was tended by a medic shortly after. She later commented that “the police behaved with restraint” and that they “couldn’t see what was awaiting them.”

According to Stalwart House owner Steve Goralski, Furst had been checked into the recovery home a few hours earlier but started to act unruly. Goralski said he was asked to leave because he was being loud and not complying with staff instructions. Goralski claimed Furst did not have a gun or a knife, adding weapons are not allowed on the property. Goralski’s brother, who manages the recovery home and was present during the scene, declined to comment.

Another potentially deadly incident occurred at the recovery home last June. A 43-year-old man who had moved into the facility the day before was arrested after he allegedly stabbed his roommate in the neck while the victim was asleep. In that case, Harwood said in June, “mental illness may be a factor.”

Barber added that the recovery home on San Andres — Stalwart House has two other locations in town — houses up to 16 men at a time. The company has a good reputation, she said, and the location is usually well-maintained a quiet. But in the past six months, Barber went on, she has noticed more residents wearing ankle bracelets and probation officers arriving more often.

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