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September 22, 2023

15-year-old killed in double stabbing on Marin Street

Two teens arrested

WATSONVILLE—A 15-year-old boy died from stab wounds late Aug. 7 on Marin Street in Watsonville and two teen males have been taken into custody.

Watsonville Police Department spokesperson Michelle Pulido said police took a 17-year-old male into custody Monday night on suspicion of homicide. 

On Monday numerous police swarmed the scene of the homicide around 11am and took a teen male into custody just inches from where a makeshift altar of flowers and candles had been built for the victim, identified as JohnPaul Moreno by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.

Pulido said that WPD had arrested a “male teen suspect” at the crime scene Monday morning. It is unclear where the 17-year-old suspect was later arrested.

Police were initially dispatched to a residential area on the 100 block of Marin Street at 9:45pm on Aug. 7, Pulido said. After an altercation broke out, two teen males were stabbed.

While Moreno died, the second victim, Pulido said, “is expected to be okay.” 

“This fatal stabbing was an isolated incident and at this point, detectives believe there are no outstanding suspects in this case,” Pulido said.

Martha Fernandez, who lives a few doors away from the scene of the murder, says the incident is not uncommon for the neighborhood. She says she sees both police officers and suspicious people passing by frequently. 

The death marks the fifth homicide of the year for Watsonville.

Pulido did not say if the incident was gang-related.

The incident is still under investigation.

Anyone with information about the stabbing is asked to call WPD Detective Gustavo Zamora at 768-3355.

Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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