Police: Brandon Gil Started Deadly Fight

The 21-year-old was a gang member and the man who fatally stabbed him will not face charges.

Brandon Gil and a friend attacked a member of their own gang outside a downtown Watsonville sports bar, starting a knife fight that killed Gil and left both other men seriously injured, Watsonville police said at a press conference Thursday.

"This was a beef within the gang that was dealt with out in public," Watsonville Police Chief Manny Solano said.

The man who killed Gil, Frank Garcia, will not be arrested and charged in connection with his death, Solano said.

"This case is a case of self defense," the chief said.

The shocking announcement marked the conclusion of the .

According to police, Gil and Ricardo Flores were inside El Miramar sports bar the night of March 31 when the spotted Garcia. All three belong to the same Norteño street gang, Solano said.

Gil and Flores blamed Garcia for an earlier assault on another, unnamed member of the gang. When Garcia stepped out of the bar, Gil and Flores followed and initiated the fight by confronting Garcia, police said.

It escalated quickly. Gil attacked Garcia with a knife, Solano said.

Garcia defended himself by stabbing Gil in the upper body with a knife he had armed himself with, police reported. Flores came to Gil's defense and hit Garcia in the head with a beer bottle. Garcia fought back by stabbing Flores, according to police.

"It happened very quick," Solano said. "It was only a matter of seconds."

All three men fled. Gil collapsed a couple blocks away. Flores was taken to the hospital. Garcia did not immediately seek medical attention for his injuries—a stab wound to the upper torso and a blow to the head.

Police found several folding knives at the scene, according to police Lt. David McCartney. They believe all three men were armed, though Flores has never cooperated with police and talked about the night.

McCartney called the deadly night "inter-gang retaliation."

For all of Patch's coverage of Gil's death, click HERE.

Solano said police met with Gil's family before the press conference Thursday to break the news to them. His family has cooperated with the investigation and though saddened by the development, was not surprised, the chief said.

"They're obviously are still very sad," Solano said. "They're still going through a huge loss. ... I think they understood and acknowledged that their son was involved in risky behavior."

Gil has been identified as a gang member by police since he was a teenager and has a violent criminal history as a juvenile, McCartney said.

Solano said Gil's arrests included "incidents of violence on school grounds... One was actually pretty serious, I think."

Garcia, the man police believe inflicted the deadly injury on Gil, cooperated with police during the investigation.

Legally, using deadly force against another person for self defense requires that the person defending himself be in eminent danger of death and fear for his life. Police said that, in their consultations with the District Attorney's Office, that Garcia did rightfully fear for his life.

Garcia has since left town, Solano said.

After Gil died, friends and family came together in force to raise money for funeral expenses and remember the young man, who was a fourth-generation Watsonville resident. . Gil had recently started a new job at an auto shop and his parents told police he was trying to change his life, Solano said.

A memorial of candles and flowers for Gil still stands on the sidewalk where he collapsed, at East Lake Avenue and Brennan Street.

"It's just, again, a very unfortunate case all around," the chief said.

Jerry May 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM
People ask me where I'm from and I say Watsonville and most are impressed by the location but Watsonville is the worst the central coast has to offer. This case is a great example. I'm sure the chamber of commerce can use this, come to Watsonville, you may see a murder on main street but don't worry, no one will be arrested, not even a misdemeanor. Apparently David and Tina know more than the police know. Perhaps there are job opportunities for you both.
shelley beach May 19, 2012 at 06:17 PM
thank you belen. you said it well. and guess what? i love you for what u said. you brought back that memory, and made me smile and cry. again i thank u
shelley beach May 19, 2012 at 07:00 PM
"tina" i doubt thats your real name. but i told u to keep my sons name out of your mouth.if you seem to know everything then u know my son and the murderer were not friends due to something that happened a few months back. the murderer should have been arrested then for what he did then. but he just ran his ass out of town. do i need to explain more? do u really want all this out there? he should have kept his happy ass out of watsonville.
Belen May 19, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Shelley and Family, I am glad to see you all standing strong together, and have the support of one another. Take Care.....
Parents of Alyssa May 19, 2012 at 07:59 PM
This is a perfect example of gang violence. Stop crime before it happens. They should have walked away
Marcus May 19, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I guess it is easy to place the blame on the police department and the DA's Office. Funny how no one has placed the blame on the studid gangs that are responsible for this. Did his parents not know he was involved in a gang? When you choose this lifestyle, this is the tragic result of it. Frank Garcia is in no way innocent. He chose this lifestyle as well. And as far as Garcia being charged with a weapon violation, it is not illegal to carry a pocket knife, even if you are a convicted felon. If he wasn't on parole, he could carry it. Brandon was also armed with a knife. I suspect most gang members arm themselves with pocket knives just in case they are attacked, like Frank was. Stop placing the blame on the police and stop addressing the real problem, the GANGS!
shelley beach May 19, 2012 at 09:33 PM
whatever marcus! my son is dead and frank garcia get to move on with his. bottom line! did u see Brandon with a knife? then if not you are only going by what has been written in the press. and a lot of what is written is not true. you know that saying "dont believe anything you hear and only half of what u read."
MarieLou May 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I don't know any of the people involved, but I do wonder: if this is merely a case of bad guy vs. good guy, why did the victims run from the scene? It's probably safe to assume that since this happened at a very public place, there were several unbiased witnesses who saw the incident and that police based their conclusion on those people's statements. If other stabbing suspects who have claimed self-defense were charged and even found guilty, it can be assumed that witnesses' testimony in those cases did not match the statements of the accused.
shelley beach May 20, 2012 at 08:19 PM
you cant assume anything mariaf. there was a birthday party going on in the bar for someone frank garcia knew, thats why he was there. if you can assume that there were unbiased witnessess then i can assume most there knew frank so i believe their statements if any were biased.
Joseph Macias May 21, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I have been reading through the comments and it is difficult to lose a child so young with his whole life ahead of him; my condolences goes out to you and your family. I don’t think there will be anything that anybody could say that you will agree with if they have a difference of opinion then yours. Your son died and no one is paying for it – especially the one who had the hand who did it. At this point I don’t think there would be any justifiable evidence EVER that would convince you that this was a case of self defense. Is it right or wrong that Garcia is not charged? Is there a conspiracy by the police, media, witnesses against your son’s death? If we can’t trust the police, witnesses or DA with their conclusion than who can we trust? And you are right to say that we were not there and how can we say anything. But until something different is uncovered or discovered, we can only do but just that, lean to the understanding of what has been speculated. I’m talking about the greater public who are just looking in. You can fight off everyone that has a different or negative opinion in regards to your son’s death, but at the end of the day everyone will go about their business and you will carry his memories for as long as you live. Never the less, sorry for your loss and I hope you find peace through god and support from your loved ones. Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
shelley beach May 21, 2012 at 04:29 AM
just my opinion, but i think garcia was not charged because he made some sort of deal with the DA. it happens all the time. because why would they even release his name? he is out of this town and perhaps out of the state living under an assumed name. possibly in witness protection. again, just my opinion.
Jay Richards May 21, 2012 at 06:09 AM
Years ago my sistyer was sitting in her house when punks started shooting at each other. A bullet went through her window and hit her under her eye and lodged in her brain. The bullet it is still there today. I feel nothing for the families or the gang bangers killed. Sick of how innocent they are, my baby was a good boy, blah blah blah. Blame everyone but yourselves for raising a thug. The sooner they start giving these thugs life sentences the sooner the streets will be safe.. Raise your kids right and you wont have to make excuses for them. Can't do that then stop pumping them out.
shelley beach May 21, 2012 at 05:42 PM
do u have children jay? i dont care that u feel nothing for me, i did raise my son right. i do feel sorry for your sister. that should have never happened. she was an innocent victim. but for u to feel to cold about anothers loss is sad. you must not have a heart. and like you i am pissed off on how there will be no justice. did they catch the person or persons who shot your sister? did u get justice? and as far as pumping kids out, i have 2 boys. one in college and the other dead. so dont tell me i did something wrong, i raised them both from day one. since its easy for u to put blame on the parents
Donna May 25, 2012 at 05:48 AM
im so sorry to hear about your loss but all three are and were part of the same gangs and thats the consequence of beeing in a gang. And the same story happend few years ago with Brandon gil brother Tommy when he stabb and kill "Pepe" from a different gang on a self defends.if i remember. So you should know better, that Frank only did was defend himself by fighting back like tommy did years ago and serve only a self defends case.And this is exactly what Pepe's Family went through too what your going through. As frank to all of you he aint hidding like people said we all know. Even know he did what he did and its not right but we all have to reconized that he did the right thing on defending himself. And i knowing all three all of them are and were nice people. and all them three are Familia. But calling Frank a coward is not what he is, cuz all he did was fight back for his life and thats what we all would off done in a case like this and thats how the DA sees it.So here in Watsonville we all know each other and this three men were friends We all know that been in a part of a gang your either going to end up in prison or dead. And alot of the cases the parents are the roll model for their kids behavior when one of the parent been in gangs or in prison too. But hopefully this will open alot of kids eyes outhere before join in into a gang and instead we all should live life in peace..
shelley beach May 27, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Donna if u know so much then u know tommy went to prison. He did his time. And so should Brandons murderer. The coroner said on the death certificate death by homicide. Brandon may have been defending himself from his murderer. And I call him the murderer cuz that's what he is
shelley beach May 27, 2012 at 02:51 AM
why do all these ppl defending the murderer never use their full name?
Marcus May 28, 2012 at 08:26 PM
This was a homicide, a justifiable homicide. And what deal could Garcia made with the police department or DA? That makes no sense. I'm not taking sides because I think all three of these guys are guilty. They are/were gang members and they know the reality of joining a gang. Just ask them. For the most part it does fall on the parents. In a rare, RARE occassion, the parents may not know their child is in a gang. Just look at your child's friends and it should be obvious. Blame the gangs, blame yourself but don't blame the police department/District Attorney's Office. They didn't raise your son, nor did they kill him.
shelley beach May 29, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Deals are made all the time with the DA. Some have a choice to plea to this or that for a lesser sentence. Or give information on other crimes. So don't tell ME that it makes no sense. I believe that my son and his friend were attacked 1st. If all 3 had knives and my son "attacked" 1st, don't you think the murderer would have had more stab wounds? (If he had any). Police say the murderer was outside smoking when "attacked" by BOTH my son and his friend. That makes no sense to me. If he was THE VICTIM then he would of had more stab wounds, with both boys stabbing him at the same time .What does make sense is that MY SON and HIS FRIEND were outside smoking when they were attacked by surprise. That explains why my sons friend was stabbed 3x and my son once. These were 2 men in their twenties, and my son worked out at Golds Gym everyday after work. He was very strong and getting bigger. The murderer in his forties and probably smoked for most of his years. How could he have stabbed them both that many times if he wasn't the attacker? Now if u wanting to put the blame on me. You don,t know me! I have worked for the PVUSD for 15 years, lived in the same place for 17 years, never arrested, and never had CPS called on me. Then you say look at your childs friends and its obvious they're in gangs? I work at a high school and for the MOST part ALL the kids dress the same. Go to any high school, and tell me how YOU can pick out the ones in gangs. I can guarantee it won't be that simple.
shelley beach May 30, 2012 at 02:17 AM
marcus, why not use your full name? look who is the coward by not disclosing your full name. and u said all three are/were gang members and to ask them about the reality of joining a gang. well i cant cuz my son is dead and the murderer high tailed it out of town and my sons friend is not a gang member. so marcus who do i ask? how would u feel if someone murdered a member of your family and it was found to be justifiable? And yes you are taking sides. it just makes me so angry to see ppl put all the blame on the parents. are u a parent. so if your child grows up and abuses alcohol or drugs or just screws up, i guess you'll have accept the blame. RIGHT!!!!
The truth is May 31, 2012 at 08:56 PM
You should be aggressive with everyone. You’re a parent who lost a child to the gang life and paid the ultimate sacrifice. You were naïve to your son’s behavior, friends and tattoos. You lost your son and only blame others. Blame yourself for watching him get deeper and deeper into the gang life. Help other naïve parents before they lose their gang member sons to the streets!
shelley beach May 31, 2012 at 10:16 PM
again someone not using their real name.....do not call me naive or to blame myself, unless you know me. Brandons father and i participated in weekly counseling for many months when Brandon was under age. so do not call me naive. i learned alot from those sessions and once Brandon turned 18 what was i as a parent suppose to do about tattoos? as for my sons behavior, he was never arrested as an adult and had a job. the truth is you do not know the truth so dont judge me!!!!!
shelley beach May 31, 2012 at 10:22 PM
also i am so sick of people on her telling me how sorry they are but in the next sentence blaming me. i loved my son unconditionally like so many other parents. yes he made some wrong choices in life but havent we all? especially when we are young and not thinking about the consequences are actions may bring.
David H. Perez June 01, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I have a better idea. Considering this article was posted two weeks ago, why doesn't everybody just drop it and move on. We have established that Brandon, who had some good qualities according to his family, made some bad choices and aligned himself with some very bad people. He set himself up to either eventually go to prison or get killed. Regretfully, the latter happened and we cannot undo that. Hopefully other young people and their parents have learned from Brandon's bad choice. Brandon's parents may have been good or bad as parents, I don't know, but there is nothing to be gained by continuing to verbally beat them up. So why don't we all just SHUT UP and move on. He's gone and it's over. I'm also sick of getting an email every time someone comments.
shelley beach June 01, 2012 at 01:30 AM
sorry david it is not over for me, and never will be, and not my problem you get and email every time someone comments. Again someone says (you) that we could have been bad parents. why must you say that then tell others to not verbally beat us up. i will stop posting on here when others stop.
Diahann Beach June 02, 2012 at 05:07 AM
There is a whole lot of JUDGING going on here. Where is innocent until proven guilty…? Right, the Police and DA will NOT let that happen! If you would take the time and actually read the article above, what the police say happened does not make sense. If Brandon and Rico both had knifes why would Rico hit Garcia with a bottle?? If Garcia was attacked first, by two people, and according to police “it happened very quick” “it escalated quickly”, why is my Nephew dead and Rico ended up in the hospital? Also why did Garcia run away, why not run back into the restaurant and tell the people in there that he was attacked call the police? If Rico and Brandon attacked first why isn’t Rico being charged with anything?? There are TOO many questions TOO much does not make sense. The police and DA did not do their due diligence in this case.
Marcus June 02, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Here is a better question Diahann, why doesn't Ricardo cooperate and tell his side of the story? Its obvious Garcia is cooperating. Keep placing the blame on the police and DA instead of the guy that was actually there. And why do I need to use my full name? I'm just giving my opinion like everyone else. I'm just tired of seeing people blame the police for gang violence instead of hitting the real problem, the gangs themselves and the parents that raise them.
Laura June 02, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Ok, Brandon wasn't a little kid anymore, he was a man... I know Richard and Shelley raised him right, but once your child is an adult all you can do is try and help them not go the wrong way... I can see if he was still a kid, then it's the parents responsibility until they are 18. Diahann, it keeps going back to the police? Why wont Rico talk? I think there is more to Ricardo than you know, maybe you should sit down with him and find out what WPD told him. You all want justice, then try and get the truth out of him. At this point, WPD, DA, Garcia... NO one can help but Ricardo, and he's not. I know it's hard, believe me I know and it's easier to point the blame at others, but if WPD is doing what they can with what they have (only 2 statements) and the DA only has what WPD gave them (2 statements) and Garcia gave the statement, Brandon can't then who's left??
Diahann Beach June 03, 2012 at 12:42 AM
So in other words Marcus in your world all police and DA’s are good, there is no corruption? And all gang members are bad, there is no compassion? I don’t see the world in black and white. I don’t make stereo typical judgments on people, I look at the person for who they are. Do you blame the parents of the world for all your perceived wrong in the world? (Like you are doing here) Are your parents to blame for all of your perceived faults? When does it stop being your parents fault and starts being yours? Like I have said before I still pray that Rico will say what he knows. But until then what I have to go on is what the police have said and what they have said, to me, has not made any sense.
shelley beach June 03, 2012 at 04:53 AM
just a reminder that their is no statue of limitations on murder and just because the police have said no charges are being filed doesnt mean there wont be any at all. the murderer can still be charged even at a later time, thats what i am hoping for.
Jennifer Squires July 03, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Based on a decision by the Patch Editorial Board, comments are no longer going to be allowed on this story. We appreciate the feedback and conversation the community was able to have. We hope by closing this forum, people can have the opportunity to move forward and heal.


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