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Watsonville Police arrested two men and a boy on Monday after the suspects tried to evade officer’s attempts to detain them in connection with reports of a nearby shooting. Ernesto Murillo, 19, Merino Zarate, 18, and a 14-year-old boy — all Watsonville residents — were arrested after fleeing police, who attempted to stop them for running a stop sign, police said. Police said they responded to the area of Pennsylvania Drive and Clifford Avenue around 4:20 p.m. after receiving reports of gunshots being fired from a vehicle.
Witnesses told police that the shots had been fired from a car, similar to a maroon Honda, police said. Minutes later, police located a maroon Mitsubishi as it rolled through a stop sign about 2 miles away, near Anna Street and Technology Drive, according to police. Officers tried to stop the vehicle in the parking lot of Watsonville Community Hospital at 75 Nielson St., but Zarate and Murillo drove the car away after the boy got out and fled on foot, police said.
As officers pursued the Mitsubishi to Green Valley Road and Main Street, the car turned into the Watsonville Square Shopping Center parking lot and crashed into a parked car, police said. Police arrested Zarate, who had been driving, as well as Murillo and the boy who had fled on foot. Zarate and Murillo were both booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail, while the boy was cited and released to his parents. Police said they still do not know if the three suspects were connected to the shooting.
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