Police have recovered a stolen firearm that was reported missing after a teen was arrested near a school in Santa Cruz Thursday night. Police responded to the area near West Cliff Drive and Sacramento Avenue at around 7 p.m. after receiving reports of a car with bullet holes and a flat tire that was driving recklessly in the area. Responding officers learned that a gun was thrown from the car and a man walking in the area reportedly took it, police said. Officers spotted Derek Bodiford, 19, in the area and he matched the suspect’s description, according to police. Bodiford allegedly ran from officers into the back of a school in the 200 block of Swift Street, police said. Officers received assistance from a K-9 unit, State Parks officials and the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office to establish a perimeter around the school.
Police said Bodiford attempted to leave the school grounds by a back gate onto Merced Avenue and was detained by authorities. A search of the school grounds and surrounding area was conducted but police did not recover the firearm. Police informed school officials and contacted nearby residents using reverse-911 to alert them about the missing gun.Bodiford was arrested and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on $100,000 bail. On Friday morning, Bodiford told police where to find the firearm, near the area where he was first spotted.
Officers found the gun in the bushes of a home in the 100 block of Stockton Avenue, police said. Police said they also found the car that had been driving recklessly with bullet holes and a flat tire. They discovered the silver Mercedes E-430 in the 200 block of San Jose Avenue. Two people were reportedly in the car when it was seen driving recklessly. Investigators are looking for a connection between this car and shooting incidents that occurred in Santa Cruz and the surrounding area. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call (831) 420-5820.
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