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Five Watsonville residents arrested in shooting death

Posted: Monday, Oct 14th, 2013

Santa Cruz Police officer Saul Rodriguez takes information from two people detained early Monday in a high risk car stop on Highway 1 in Aptos. Santa Cruz police made five arrests in the 2012 homicide of Joseph Mendoza, 12, in Santa Cruz. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

SANTA CRUZ — Five Watsonville residents were arrested Monday for the 2012 murder of a 12-year-old boy, the Santa Cruz Police Department announced Monday.

Andrew Carrera, 19, was arrested, along with two juveniles, both 15, who were living in group homes in Exeter and Placerville. Two 17-year-old males have also been arrested.

All suspects are members of the Norteño criminal street gang. Four of the suspects were on juvenile probation at the time of this homicide.

They were charged with homicide, a criminal street gang enhancement, discharge of a firearm from a vehicle and a firearm enhancement.

Joseph Mendoza was standing on the sidewalk at the intersection of San Lorenzo Blvd and Bixby Street on Aug. 8, 2012, when he was confronted by a group of suspects in a car. During the confrontation, the suspects fired several shots from a handgun, killing Joseph.

Investigators now believe that tensions between rival gangs sparked the shooting.

Carrera was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

Police expect a sixth arrest next week, Santa Cruz Police Deputy Chief Steve Clark said. The outstanding suspect is currently in custody on unrelated charges.

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