press release - 08041601

Notification of Arrestee Death


Santa Barbara - August 4th, 2016

At approximately 1:30 a.m. this morning, August 4, 2016, an arrestee of the Santa Barbara Police Department (SBPD) was received at the Santa Barbara County Jail. He passed away shortly after he arrived. He has been identified as 56-year-old Joel Huerta of Santa Barbara. Next of kin has been notified.


At approximately, 12:30 a.m. SBPD Officers arrested Mr. Huerta on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs following a domestic disturbance call in the 500-block of east De La Guerra in Santa Barbara. Due to his level of impairment SBPD Officers placed restraints on him and brought him to the Santa Barbara County Jail. He arrived at the jail at approximately 12:50 a.m. this morning, on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs. 


Upon his arrival, jail medical staff attempted to assess Huerta, but he refused to answer any questions. Mr. Huerta was escorted to a cell for observation by SBPD Officers, Sheriff’s Custody Deputies and medical staff. Once he was in the cell, his restraints were removed and almost immediately he became unresponsive. Medical staff and Sheriff’s Custody Deputies began lifesaving efforts. An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) was applied, but was unsuccessful in reviving him. Subsequently CPR was performed by both Sheriff’s Custody Deputies and medical personnel. County Fire Paramedics arrived and continued resuscitation efforts but despite their lifesaving efforts, Mr. Huerta died.


An investigation is being conducted by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Santa Barbara Police Department. The Coroner’s Office is conducting a death investigation to determine cause and manner of death. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. An official cause and manner of death is pending toxicology and lab results which will take several weeks to complete.



For Media Inquires Contact PIO Kelly Hoover


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