Buellton man in custody after standoff with deputies

A 53-year-old Buellton man identified as Michael Lee Johnson was transported to the hospital early this morning after a seven hour standoff with Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies ended with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to officials.

The incident started just after midnight on Tuesday in the 500 block of Farmland Drive, when a domestic dispute escalated to the suspect making threatening statements he would set his house on fire.

“His spouse was able to flee and get help from deputies.  An emergency notification was sent to neighbors instructing them to shelter in place,” said Kelly Hoover, public information officer.

The sheriff’s special enforcement team and hostage negotiation team responded and determined the suspect had filled his house with natural gas. The deputies spent hours on scene trying to contact the the subject and resolve situation peacefully and to ensure the safety of the community.

They started with flash bangs at 4:30 a.m., then used tear gas at 5:30 a.m. to lure him out. Just before 6 a.m. the suspect came out of the house after apparently shooting himself in the chest.

He was transported to the hospital and when cleared he will be booked on charges of making criminal threats and attempted arson, according to Hoover.

Santa Barbara county public safety dispatch center sent out another alert just after 6 this morning lifting the shelter in place advisement.