Santa Cruz police separately arrested a father and son in Santa Cruz within a two-day span this week for alleged attempted carjacking, attempted murder and firearms possession. The first arrest occurred on Wednesday when John Thomas Jr., 39, of Santa Cruz, was arrested in connection with an attempted carjacking and homicide in the 100 block of Bixby Street, police said. Around 6:50 p.m. police responded to a report of an attempted carjacking of a 46-year-old man and his wife and two children from Live Oak.
The family was delivering holiday tamales to their son’s teacher and had parked on Bixby Street. While they were parked, John Thomas allegedly approached the car and demanded the vehicle, police said. John Thomas had a revolver that he allegedly pointed at the family members. At one point he allegedly pounded on the window with the butt of the gun, police said. The wife grabbed her 3-month-old baby and fled from the car while the suspect confronted her husband, police said.
During the confrontation John Thomas pointed the gun at the man’s chest and pulled the trigger several times. Detectives later learned that the suspect had the wrong ammunition loaded in the gun. He had .380-caliber ammunition for a semi-automatic handgun that he had put into a .38 caliber revolver, which prevented him from shooting the victim, police said. After the failed shooting, John Thomas fled, but police found him in the 300 block of Ocean Street and he was taken into custody, police said.
Police searched the area and found his gun that had been discarded in the area. While investigating the case, police learned of a second incident during which John Thomas had pointed his gun at the occupants of a passing car and had attempted to get the driver to stop, police said. John Thomas was found to be on parole for other crimes in Santa Cruz. He has arrests dating back from 1992, including crimes that occurred in prison, police said. According to police, he is a gang member, and since he was released from prison he has been arrested for parole violations.
He was booked into Santa Cruz County jail on carjacking, attempted homicide, parole violation and weapons charges, police said. On Thursday, detectives served a search warrant at John Thomas’ home in the 300 block of Soquel Avenue. While serving the warrant, John Thomas’ son, 21-year-old Brandon Thomas confronted officers, police said. Brandon Thomas was detained and searched and he was allegedly found in possession of a loaded 9mm handgun, police said.
The son was identified as a Norteno gang member affiliated with the Westside Nortenos in Santa Cruz, police said. He was booked into Santa Cruz County jail on suspicion of possessing a loaded firearm with enhancements for being part of a street gang, police said. The younger Thomas’ bail was set at $100,000, according to police.
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