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Report: Watsonville man shoots daughter, then himself

Modified: Tuesday, Mar 21st, 2017

The California Highway Patrol teams up with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office in shutting down a section of Clares Street Sunday behind the Capitola Mall where a Watsonville man reportedly killed his 7-year-old daughter and then himself. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

CAPITOLA — A 36-year-old Watsonville man and his 7-year-old daughter died Sunday outside the Capitola Mall in an apparent murder-suicide.

Capitola Police said they received a call at 3:15 p.m. from a woman that her husband might be attempting suicide in the mall’s parking lot in back of Macy’s on Clares Street. The woman said her husband was with their 7-year-old daughter inside their family car.

The woman met the first officers to arrive at the scene and directed them to her car. Police then found the father and young girl with apparent gunshot wounds. Though emergency responders performed life-saving first aid, both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Clark said the man has been identified as Carlos Garcia. Through a fundraiser posted on the Gofundme website by the family, the young girl was identified as Yaxtel G. Tapia.

Family members posted the message: “Money will be used for her funeral arrangements to put our beautiful angel to rest. We hope to raise the money in time to put her to rest and be able to say our last words. The loss of our beloved little girl was very sudden and unexpected. Our family doesn’t have the necessary funds at the moment and we would really appreciate the help. Our family thanks you from the bottom of our hearts for your help.”

As of 5 p.m. Monday, $2,378 had been raised in two hours.

Capitola Police were aided by Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputies and the California Highway Patrol in securing the crime scene. Police shut down traffic altogether on the heavily travelled Clares Street, a major corridor between Soquel Drive and 41st Avenue behind the Capitola Mall. Scores of shoppers stopped outside the crime scene, many clutching shopping bags from various stores, to watch the investigation unfold.

Capitola Police said that based on witness statements and early examination of the crime scene the investigation is being handled as a murder-suicide.

To make a donation to help defray funeral costs, visit www.gofundme.com/yaxtel-funeral.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Capitola Police at 471-1141.

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