General Crime

Gang Member,Joel Solorzano,Arrested On Suspicion Of Shooting 13-year-old Boy Who Lost An Eye In Watsonville

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A 20-year-old documented gang member was arrested Wednesday in the Feb. 14 shooting of a 13-year-old Watsonville boy who lost an eye after being critically injured, a police detective said today.

At 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Watsonville police served a search warrant at a residence on Coolidge Street in Watsonville and took in suspect Joel Solorzano, Watsonville police Detective Charles Bailey said.

Solorzano was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder with gang enhancements and booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail, Bailey said.

On Feb. 14, officers were dispatched shortly before 8 p.m. to Loughead Street near the Pajaro River levee in Watsonville about a reported shooting, police said.

When officers arrived, they found a 13-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to his face, police said.

The boy told police that while walking to the store, two males had approached him and one shot him with a handgun and fled in a waiting vehicle, according to police.

The victim was flown in critical condition to a Bay Area hospital and after several surgeries the boy lost an eye and was fitted for a prosthetic eye, Bailey said.

Doctors located bullet fragments in the boy that will not be removed because they are in locations where further surgery might endanger him, Bailey said.

The boy was not affiliated with a street gang, but the shooting is considered gang-motivated because Solorzano is a known gang member, Bailey said.

The suspect and the boy lived in the same general neighborhood where several parallel streets dead end at the Pajaro River levee, Bailey said.

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