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A violent day: shooting, stabbing five hours apart

Modified: Wednesday, Jan 30th, 2013

Two violent incidents Tuesday kept police busy as they investigated a stabbing and a shooting that occurred within a few hours of each other.

A Watsonville man was flown by air ambulance to a Bay Area trauma center with non-life threatening injuries after he was shot Tuesday night in an incident Watsonville Police say was gang related.

According to the Watsonville Police Department, the victim, a 23-year-old male, was walking on the sidewalk in the area of Brewington Avenue and Arbol Drive at approximately 8:15 p.m. when a vehicle drove past him and stopped.

A suspect got out of the vehicle and approached the victim on foot, then shot at him several times, striking him once in the lower body, according to Watsonville Police Sgt. Eric Taylor.

The suspect ran back to the vehicle, which was last seen driving westbound on Crestview Drive.

Taylor said the victim is an associate of a local criminal street gang, but declined to state which gang he belonged to.

“The nature of the crime makes us believe it has some gang overtones, but it’s far too early to determine who the players are,” he said.

The shooting came a little more than five hours after a man was stabbed in the face and waist in front of the Quik Stop market at 1 Porter Drive in Pajaro.

In that case, two suspects, male and female, approached the victim in front of the market and stabbed him in the face and waist during a struggle around 3:30 p.m.

The victim was picked up by a car with two passengers, who attempted to drive him to the hospital, dispatchers said.

The green Pontiac was pulled over by police in front of Chase Bank on Main Street within minutes. The victim was then treated by paramedics and firefighters on the scene with heavily bleeding wounds. American Medical Response paramedics then took him to Watsonville Community Hospital.

A source close to the investigation said the stabbing victim was using a fake gun to rob two homeless men. The men called his bluff, then beat him and stabbed him.

The victim was flown by CALSTAR air ambulance to Regional Medical Center in the San Jose area.

The suspects in the stabbing are described as Hispanic, about 20 to 25 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall and both wearing black jackets. They were last seen by witnesses running parallel to the Pajaro River levee near Gonda Street.

As of 5 p.m., no suspects had been located.

It is unclear whether the two incidents are related.

Also under investigation is a Jan. 14 shooting in which an 18-year-old Watsonville man was shot to death as he rode his bicycle along Second Street.

Marco Topete, who celebrated his 18th birthday Jan. 14, became Santa Cruz County’s first homicide victim of 2013.

Police said Topete had prior gang association, and was the victim of a shooting in October.

Anyone with information about any of these cases is asked to call the Watsonville Police Department Investigations Bureau at 768-3352 or the anonymous tip line at 768-3544.

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