WATSONVILLE — Tuesday was a violent day in the Pajaro Valley, with a man being shot on a sidewalk in one the city’s nicer residential areas, and another man being stabbed earlier in the day in front of Quik Stop market in Pajaro.
At 10:16 p.m., Watsonville police officers were dispatched to the corner of Brewington Avenue and Arbol Drive due to a report of gunshots. When officers arrived, they found a 23-year-old Hispanic man with a gunshot wound in his lower buttocks, upper thigh region. An ambulance soon took him to Watsonville Community Hospital, where he was then flown to a Bay Area trauma center. The injury was not deemed life threatening.
According to police, the victim was on the sidewalk when a vehicle drove past, then stopped. A man then got out of the car, approached the victim and then opened fire. The shooter then ran back to his car and was last seen heading westbound on Crestview Drive.
Police believe the shooting was gang motivated.
“Just because of the nature of the way it went down,” said WPD Sgt. Eric Taylor. “The guy is walking along by himself, a vehicle passes him, stops; he’s cut off, words are exchanged, the victim took off running, and he was shot as he was running.”
Sgt. Taylor said there are conflicting reports about what kind of vehicle the shooter was driving, but that it was a minivan. The make and color of the vehicle has not been determined.
Earlier in the day, around 3:30 p.m., a Pajaro man was attacked by two people, a male and female. He was stabbed in the face and waist, receiving major injuries, while standing outside the Quik Stop. The victim was picked up by friends who attempted to drive him to the hospital before being stopped by police.
The victim was then treated by paramedics, taken to Watsonville Community Hospital and then flown to a Bay Area trauma center.
The suspects were described as Hispanic, 20-25 years old, and wearing black jackets. Taylor said that, though the WPD initially responded to the traffic stop near Chase Bank on Main Street, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department is handling the investigation.
Both crimes come on the heels of Santa Cruz County’s first murder, which occurred Jan. 18 in Watsonville. The victim, Marco Topete, who had turned 18 days before he was killed, was riding his bicycle on Second Street when an unknown suspect drove up and fired 11 shots. Topete was struck more than once and killed.
Taylor said earlier news reports that police were looking for a silver Lexxus that could be connected to the shooting were overstated.
“We really don’t have much there,” he said.
Anyone with information regarding these cases is strongly encouraged to call the Watsonville Police Department Crime Tip line at 728-3544 or the Watsonville Police Department Investigation Bureau at 768-3352. Taylor said that even if a resident is scared to leave a name, at least make a call and alert police so that they can investigate.