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August 9, 2022

Two Watsonville men arrested in connection to double homicide


WATSONVILLE—Two Watsonville men were arrested early Tuesday morning on suspicion of fatally shooting a man and a woman in Gonzales on Oct. 23.

David Ireta-Reyes, 24, and William Garcia-Fuentes, 25, were arrested on $2 million warrants, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office said.

On Oct. 23 gunfire erupted at a huge gathering along the Salinas River north of Gonzales. Fabian Ortega, 24, and Araceli Verar, 30, both of Watsonville, were shot and killed. Two other males in their 20s also suffered gunshots, but are expected to survive.

The Sheriff’s Office described the scene as an “organized event” between Foletta Road and the Salinas River that included around 300 people. They said the gathering formed late on the night of Oct. 23 and spilled into the next morning.


Around 4:30am Tuesday, Monterey County Sheriff’s detectives, a SWAT team and Watsonville Police officers served warrants in Watsonville on 100 block of Buena Vista Drive, the 100 block of Via Serra Street and the 200 block of Carey Avenue. That’s when they rounded up Ireta-Reyes and Garcia-Fuentes and took them into custody.

Both men are being charged with homicide and gang enhancement under the Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office said.

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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