Isla Vista pastor Father Jon-Stephen Hedges took an alleged 30 punches from a University of California Santa Barbara student who was half-naked, i.e. from the waist down.
In the 2 o’clock hour of Saturday morning suspect Paul Gusman, 22, began knocking at Hedges’ door with yells for help, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office. Gusman threw himself at the door, prompting Hedges to open it. What he found was a young man, naked from the waist down, who seized the open door.
Gusman rushed into the home and began punching Hedges in the face. Authorities said that Hedges was hit in the face an alleged 30 times. Hedges’s wife was also home, and was allegedly struck on the hand.
Mrs. Hedges managed to call 9-1-1. Sheriff’s deputies on foot patrol arrived on the scene, where Gusman by then was standing in the front yard.
Authorities described Gusman as appearing to be “under the influence of a controlled substance(s) and possibly intoxicated.” He was arrested and taken to the hospital for a hand injury before being booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail.
Charges against Gusman include “assault upon a person with force likely to produce great bodily injury, residential burglary, elder abuse and dissuading a witness/victim.” Bail was set at $500,000. Gusman is scheduled for arraignment on May 10.
The St. Athanasius Orthodox Church assistant pastor was taken to the hospital with major injuries. He was later released to recover with family.
An investigation into the attack is ongoing. Thus far it appears that the attack on Hedges was random. The Sheriff’s Department stated that the suspect and victim are not acquainted.
Hedges is a UCSBa alumnus and a volunteer Chaplain for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. A native of Colorado, he moved to Isla Vista in 1968.
The small Santa Barbara community of Isla Vista suffered the murderous rampage of Elliot Rodger in May 2014. The mass murder spanned several blocks, and left six dead and several more injured.
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