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Police chief: Man who killed Gil acted in self-defense

Modified: Thursday, May 17th, 2012

WATSONVILLE — Charges won’t be filed in the stabbing death of Brandon Gil in March, because investigators have determined that the suspect acted in self-defense.

Watsonville Police Chief Manny Solano said Thursday that investigators determined that on March 31, after words were exchanged, Gil and another man, Ricardo Flores, attacked Frank Garcia first, outside El Miramar Restaurant and Bar on Main Street. Gil allegedly stabbed Frank Garcia in the upper body, and Garcia defended himself.

“(Garcia) responded in fear of his life,” Solano said, adding that “this was a beef within the gang.”

The three men are all associated with the same Norteno street gang, Solano said. They were all armed with knives during the fight, he said.

Solano said he told Gil’s family that charges wouldn’t be filed. Regarding how Gil’s family took the news, Solano said: “Some of it wasn’t a surprise. Some of it was hard to process…. I think they understand that their son was involved in risky behavior.”

"It's a tough process for them," said Watsonville Police Lt. Dave McCartney.

Detectives determined that Gil and Flores confronted Garcia because of a prior assault that Garcia had been involved with. As a result of this assault, Garcia was no longer accepted by the gang and was targeted by the gang for harassment and violence, Solano stated.

"We believe Frank Garcia has been removed from the area," Solano said. "It's pretty apparent he's not safe here, if he stays."

Garcia had ties with a prison-based criminal organization and had an association with the same northern street gang as Gil and Flores, Solano stated.

Gil had been a known gang member and was considered a high-risk youth. A makeshift memorial for Gil still stands on the sidewalk where he died, at East Lake Avenue and Brennan Street.

For the complete article see the 05-17-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-17-2012 paper.

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