Police arrested three suspected gang members Monday suspected of being involved in a triple shooting that killed two including a four-year-old girl in October, police said. The killing took place before midnight Oct. 10 near the Valley Inn at 970 Main St. in Watsonville, according to police. The shooter also killed Ramon Rendon, who appeared to be the shooter’s target and wounded another man. Police believe stray bullets injured the man and killed the girl. Both were in the office of the Fish House Bar & Grill at 972 Main St.
When police arrived to investigate the shooting, they arrested Michael Escobar, 31, as he fled the scene. Police found him wearing military-style body armor and in possession of a handgun. Police suspect Escobar to be a member of the Norteno gang in Watsonville. He was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail and charged with murder. Police believe the killing involved a second shooter who they allege is Marcos Robles, 22, and who is currently at-large.
Detectives and the District Attorney’s Office allege that a total of seven gang members played some part in the killing. Besides Robles, two more are still at-large, including Amado Marshal Hernandez, 20, and Brandon Ruiz-Martinez, 20. The three arrested Monday include Juan Carlos Cruz, 21, Roberto Ramirez, 22, and Jimmy Espinoza, 33. The seventh suspect, Gilberto Ponciano, 25, was already in the Santa Cruz County Jail for offenses that arose during the investigation of the killing. Watsonville police are asking anyone with information as to the whereabouts of the three at-large suspects.
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