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July 26, 2021

Man killed in suspected drive-by shooting in Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ—A man was shot and killed as he sat in a car on the westside of Santa Cruz Tuesday afternoon.

He has been identified as Juan Antonio Ruiz, 28, according to the Santa Cruz County Coroner’s Office. 

The initial call to emergency dispatchers reported a man shot in the head north of the heavily-traveled intersection of Mission Street (Highway 1) at Swift Street, said Lt. Warren Barry. Ruiz was reportedly the front seat passenger in a Mercedes sedan that was traveling south on Mission Street. Police said the shooter pulled up alongside the passenger side of the Mercedes when the shot rang out around 1:15pm. 

When officers and medics arrived they found Ruiz suffering from a gunshot wound to the head sitting in the front passenger seat of the Mercedes. 

Medics rushed him to Dominican Hospital. 

Ruiz died a short while later at the hospital, Barry said. Police cordoned off a large swatch of that area, including closing off Mission Street, to protect the crime scene.

Further investigation revealed the shooting occurred nearby at the intersection of Mission Street and Fair Avenue.

Moments after the shooting police called for a countywide Be-On-The-Lookout for a suspect vehicle. A short while later, two men were stopped in a matching vehicle in Soquel and detained for questioning but further information has not been released as to possible suspects. 

The California Highway Patrol assisted with the car stop.

The Santa Cruz Police Department is investigating the incident as a homicide. 

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the SCPD Investigations Unit 420-5820.


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