ISLA VISTA (CBSLA.com) — Authorities are accusing a UCSB student — found by sheriff’s deputies naked from the waist down and likely intoxicated — of assaulting a pastor inside his home Saturday.
Officials say 22-year-old Paul Gusman assaulted Father Jon-Stephen Hedges inside the Hedges home located in the 6800 block of Fortuna Road around 2:15 a.m.
The pastor, also known as Father Jon, said he heard someone knock on his door and a male yelling for help early Saturday.
Hedges said that Gusman began throwing his body against the door. Fearing that someone was desperate for help, Father Jon said he opened the door to provide assistance.
Officials, who said Gusman was naked from the waist down, forced his way into the residence and began inexplicably punching the pastor in the face. The victim says he was hit more than 30 times in the face and his wife was also struck on her right hand.
Mrs. Hedges was able to call 911, authorities said.
When Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s arrived at the residence, they said they found Gusman in the front yard. Sheriff’s determined he was under the influence of a controlled substance and likely intoxicated.
Gusman was arrested and taken to a local hospital for an injury sustained to his hand during the alleged confrontation.
The suspect was later booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of assault upon a person with force likely to produce great bodily injury, residential burglary, elder abuse and dissuading a witness/victim.
Gusman is being held on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on May 10.
Deputies said Father Jon was transported to the hospital with major injuries.
He was later released from the hospital and is home recovering, police said.
Father Jon is a UCSB graduate and has lived in Isla Vista since 1968, police said. He is an assistant pastor at St. Athanasius Orthodox Church and a volunteer Chaplain with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities said the attack appears random and the suspect and victim were not acquainted with each other.