WATSONVILLE — A Watsonville teen was shot and killed in a back parking lot of Watsonville High School Friday night while school activities, including sports, were occurring.
Marco Ortega, 18, whom the Watsonville Police Department has identified as an “associate of a local street gang,” was killed in what police are investigating as a gang-related crime. According to police, Ortega was at the school to watch the Pajaro Valley High School’s girls soccer team play. He was in the parking lot to the school’s tennis court, very near the soccer field, when he was shot.
A dance was also occurring at the time, but police say neither the school or its events were a factor.
“Though the crime occurred in a back parking lot at Watsonville High School, and though there were events occurring at the time of the shooting, the crime itself is not, in any way, related to Watsonville High School or the students who attend classes there,” a press release from the WPD reads. “There were no calls generated from the school, or surrounding neighborhood. This was an isolated incident, in a remote part of the campus that was not witnessed by attendees of the events at the school. There was no impact on school functions as they all continued as planned.”
Police were notified of the shooting after Ortega had arrived in Watsonville Community Hospital’s emergency room, brought there by a private party. Police were able to talk to Ortega briefly before he died. Apparently, he indicated there were four attackers, who fled after the shooting.
It is the second homicide in Watsonville this year and the third in Santa Cruz County. Anyone with further information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the WPD Investigations Unit (831) 768-3352 or the Crime Tip Line at (831) 768-3544.