Buellton standoff suspect slapped with felony charges

Suspect shot himself and survived to end standoff


The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office filed criminal charges against 53-year-old Michael Lee Johnson.

Johnson was involved in an hours-long standoff with authorities in Buellton on June 12, 2017.

Criminal Threats, Attempted Arson, and Possession of Firearm by Person Prohibited Due to Conviction are the three felony charges against Johnson.

He is scheduled to appear in court on June 15 for arraignment.



A Buellton man is in custody after a 7-hour standoff. Police said he shot himself in the chest and threatened to set his house on fire.

It happened in the 500 block of Farmland Drive in Buellton. The standoff at about 11 p.m. Monday and ended when the suspect surrendered just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

Kelly Hoover, spokesperson for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said the incident started as a domestic dispute. The suspect, Michael Lee Johnson, 53 is accused of making threatening statements that he would set his house on fire and was believed to be armed with a knife and firearms. 

Johnson's wife and their family pet were able to flee the home safely. The Sheriff's Special Enforcement team and hostage negotiation team responded and determined Johnson had filled his home with natural gas.

At that time, the community was asked to shelter in place, and at 4:30 a.m., law enforcement used flash bangs and later resorted to using tear gas to lure Johnson out.

Sheriff's deputies spent several hours attempting to get Johnson to surrender himself and end the standoff peacefully. Johnson reportedly came out on the home with deputies just before 6 a.m.  He was suffering from a self-inflicted gun wound to the chest and was taken to the hospital.

Several firearms and other weapons were recovered from Johnson's home after a search.

The Sheriff's Office said Johnson was on active county probation "for a crime of violence and was believed to have access to multiple firearms in the residence.

Johnson will be booked in absentia at the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of making criminal threats and attempted arson. His bail is set at $75,000.

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