Watsonville Police tackle a man suspected of firing several rounds from a handgun into a vehicle Tuesday. While the shooting occurred on Marchant Street, police caught up with the suspect a few blocks away on Riverside Drive at Union Street (shown here). —Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—A Watsonville man was taken into custody on suspicion for firing off two shots from a handgun near Watsonville High School as classes were letting out Tuesday. The suspect has since been identified as Rene Alamillo, 27, according to WPD’s spokeswoman Michelle Pulido.

Watsonville Police Sgt. Charles Bailey said police got reports from citizens around 3:45pm that a man had fired off several shots on the 100 block of Marchant Street. At least one of those shots shattered the rear window of a Dodge minivan that was parked at the curb.

A woman who was visiting her mother near the scene said she heard two shots.

“At first I thought it was fireworks, so I came outside and then saw that some had shot out the window to my mother’s van, the woman, who chose not to be identified, said. “I’m just glad no one was hurt; I mean, there are students walking through here right now.”

Bailey said that based on a video of the shooting, police were quickly able to assemble a clear idea of who the shooter was. An officer on a motorcycle then spotted a matching suspect walking on Union Street near Riverside Drive, just blocks from the shooting scene. Several police rushed to the scene with their guns drawn and took the suspect into custody without incident. They recovered the suspect’s backpack (shown in photo) with a loaded handgun tucked inside that they believe was the weapon used in the shooting.

“Despite a stray bullet hitting an unoccupied parked car, we are fortunate that no one, including students walking home from school at the time, was injured in yesterday’s shooting,” Pulido said Wednesday morning.

Alamillo now faces numerous gun-related charges, including discharging a firearm in a school zone, Pulido said.

The incident is still under investigation.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. 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.


  1. Trujillo, Texas does not allow random shooting nor waving a gun around in public, but don’t let the facts get in the way of another one of your moronic posts.


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