WATSONVILLE —Watsonville Police officers investigating a stabbing Thursday afternoon saw their duties increase when, in an unrelated incident, a man approached them claiming to have a live grenade and wondering what to do with it.
That required investigators to set up two separate crime scenes at the Kmart store on the 1700 block of Freedom Boulevard.
In the first incident, Watsonville Police responded to a call of two males fighting at 4:20 p.m.
Officers were unable to locate the men. Witnesses said they left in separate vehicles.
A short time later, WPD Officers were dispatched to Watsonville Community Hospital for a report of a man who came to the emergency room with multiple stab wounds.
The victim was flown by air ambulance to a Bay Area trauma center with life-threatening injuries.
The wounds were no longer considered life threatening Friday morning.
Police planned to interview the victim, a 23-year-old male, on Friday.
The incident is thought to be a disagreement between the men.
“This appears to be a non-gang-related incident,” Watsonville Police Sgt. Eric Taylor said.
After responding to the hospital, WPD officers returned to the parking lot and established a crime scene, where investigators worked to gather useful evidence.
Investigators soon identified Nathan Navarro, 23, as the stabbing suspect. Police believe he stabbed the victim three times in the stomach.
He was arrested approximately 2:15 a.m. at a residence on the 100 block of Roberta Drive and was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on attempted murder charges on $375,000 bail, jail records showed.
As the investigators looked into the stabbing, a man driving a U-Haul truck parked in the lot and approached police, claiming to have a grenade he wanted to turn in.
WPD officers set a perimeter around the U-Haul and evacuated the area. The Santa Cruz County Bomb Squad transported the grenade to the county landfill for a controlled detonation.
According to police, the man found the grenade in a storage locker where he had several items that belonged to deceased relatives. He was unaware of the grenade until he saw it in an old box. The man was on his way to the Sheriff's Service Center to turn it in when he saw police cars in the parking lot.
The man was not charged with a crime.
For anyone who finds an explosive device, the best course of action is not to touch it. Instead, call police to let them handle it, Taylor said.
“You’re not to be charged criminally, and we’re not going to fine you,” he said. “Our number one concern is public safety.”
Taylor said he encourages anyone in need of help to approach the police. However, when they are actively investigating crimes, on a vehicle stop or talking to a suspect, it’s best to wait until they are finished, or to call police dispatch and ask to speak with an officer.
"This gentleman had good intentions,” Taylor said. “We always want people to be comfortable approaching us.”
Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact the WPD Investigations Division at 768-3352 or the Crime Tip Line at 768-3544.
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