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The U.S. Border Patrol arrested Salinas resident Jose Vargas, at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday on suspicion of attempted murder at a New Year’s Eve party in Watsonville. The New Year’s Eve party on Southern Circle turned bloody minutes before midnight, when the 21-year-old suspect, Jose Vargas, allegedly shot a 24-year-old Watsonville man multiple times, Watsonville police Sgt. Saul Gonzalez said.
Vargas and his girlfriend, Margarita Ruiz, were not invited to the party, but Ruiz’s friend who was invited asked the couple to join her, Gonzalez said. At 11:57 p.m. on Dec. 31, Vargas allegedly shot the victim and fled the scene with the assistance of Ruiz, Gonzalez said. The victim suffered life-threatening injuries and was flown to a Bay Area hospital, Gonzalez said. Ruiz was arrested on Jan. 3 on suspicion of being an accessory to the shooting. She refused to identify the shooter and was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail. She has since been released on bail, Gonzalez said.
On Jan. 5 detectives identified the suspect as Salinas resident Vargas and obtained a warrant for his arrest, Gonzalez said. Detectives notified the U.S. Border Patrol in case Vargas tried to flee the United States, Gonzalez said. On Sunday, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested Vargas while he allegedly attempted to re-enter the United States from Mexico at the Winterhaven port of entry in Imperial County. Vargas will be extradited to Santa Cruz County to face charges of attempted murder, Gonzalez said. “It appears to have been unprovoked, but it may have been gang-related,” Gonzalez said about the shooting. Gonzalez said that the victim is now in stable condition.
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