Big 5 Gunman Identified as Former Watsonville High Wrestler

Police fired five rounds at Robin Miranda, striking him twice.

The man killed by police Tuesday after e and refused to surrender was Robin Miranda, a 22-year-old Watsonville resident, police reported Wednesday.

Miranda wrestled at . He won the 125-pound division at the CCS MidCals in 2007 and competed in the state tournament in 2008.

Police have not said what motivated Miranda's actions.

“I’m just shocked. That just blows my mind," said Pajaro Valley Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Murry Sheckman, the former principal at Watsonville High. "That wasn’t the Robin I knew.”

Officer Zane Ota and Detective Donny Thul fired a total of five rounds at Miranda, striking him twice. Both are on .

"This incident is surely a tragedy," the police department said in a written statement.

Miranda commandeered the Big 5 Sporting Goods store in the Pajaro Plaza just after 11 a.m. Tuesday. Using a saw and a grinder, he broke into a gun cabinet and cut the locks off a shotgun, police reported.

He loaded the weapon and fired it several times. The two employees inside the store hid while the manager barricaded herself in a back office and called 911, police said.

Miranda shackled the front doors with a bike lock, so when officers arrived, they had to squeeze through a small gap. Five officers got inside the store and confronted the armed Miranda in the firearms section of the store, police said.

The officers ordered Miranda to drop his weapon and surrender, but he refused, police said in a prepared statement.

Oto and Thul shot at Miranda five times. Police did not say how many shots each officer fired or which officer's gun shot the two fatal shots.

Medics tried to administer CPR, but Miranda was pronounced dead at the scene.

Miranda had been in the store earlier in the morning. He inquired about purchasing a rifle and ammunition and filled out paperwork, but was turned down. California also has a 10-day wait—sometimes called a "cooling off period"—to purchase firearms.

Police department brass said Oto, Thul and other officers who stormed the store followed active shooter protocol. The research-based protocol, taught to officers at police academy and in training within the department, puts forth that police should immediately and without delay pursue and make contact with a shooter to save lives and stop the threat.

Both of the officers who fired their weapons are experienced members of the Watsonville force.

Oto is a 31-year veteran of the Watsonville Police Department working as a school resource officer. Thul , who has been with the department for a decade, is assigned to the Investigations Bureau.

In November, Miranda was arrested following a police chase. He had been driving erratically, then refused to pull over. The high-speed pursuit ended when he crashed into some bushes on Buena Vista Drive. He also had priors for theft, police said.

Patricia June 08, 2011 at 09:25 PM
The gunman made a choice to do what he did and therefore set his own life in jeopardy. While outside the building the police heard shots being fired and could only assume the gunman was shooting someone inside. What if they hadn't gotten in soon enough? Would the gunman had started shooting the people inside and then maybe shot some policemen? There was a very real possibility of that happening. And as sad as this is, when a criminal sets himself on the path of law breaking, he sets the end of his life in motion.
Cathy P. June 08, 2011 at 09:56 PM
The use of deadly force is the hardest decision that a police officer makes. Officers are not required to endanger their own lives if they believe that a suspect is about to cause injury or death. Mr. Miranda was inside the store firing a weapon while store employees hid, fearing for their lives. Police ordered him to surrender and he refused. Killing Mr. Miranda was justified and met the conditions to show that the use of deadly force was reasonable. Cathy Perez
Once a Running Dummy Met June 09, 2011 at 12:26 AM
I think the use of deadly force was warranted in this case, also anybody that knows Officer Ota, knows that he is very level headed and a good cop. All of the officers and Big 5 employees should considered heroes because if this suspect had gotten out of the store with the guns, who knows how this might have turned out. History shows us what has happened other places ( public areas) when disturbed people have guns. Good job to all, but real good job W.P.D. Fast response!!!
Cecile Mills June 10, 2011 at 06:18 AM
The beginning of the movie Sunshine Cleaning is just like what happened here. Life and death imitating art. Will we know if he took in his own ammunition or used some from the store? The film portrays a suicide. Very eerie.


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