The man killed when gang members opened fire at a party in a Clifford Avenue apartment Saturday night was Isaac Ramirez, a 20-year-old known gang member, Watsonville police reported Monday afternoon.
No arrests have been made. Detectives are following up on some leads but have had little luck, Sgt. Saul Gonzalez said.
“They are going slow because of the cooperation of witnesses," Gonzalez said. "We’re getting semi-cooperation, but no one is giving us enough information to identify any suspects.”
Two serious-injury stabbings bookended the deadly shooting, making the weekend the most violent the city has seen this year.
Mayor Daniel Dodge said Monday he is very concerned about the rash of gang attacks.
“This was targeted violence as opposed to random violence, and that’s a little different but … we can’t let violence be acceptable in our city, we just can’t," the mayor said.
Dodge said he hopes the city reaches out to residents through programs such as the Post-Incident Response Team, which sends community leaders and volunteers door-to-door in neighborhoods touched by violence or tragedy, "to let them know the city is concerned, and safe."
Police were already responding to a report of a loud party at 222 Clifford Ave.—an apartment complex in a neighborhood known for high crime rates and rife with gang problems—just before 10:40 p.m. Saturday when they got reports of shots fired in the area.
Officers busted up the party and detained several attendees. A few minutes later, police got a call from Watsonville Community Hospital, because someone had dropped off a gunshot victim at the emergency room, according to Gonzalez.
Someone left Ramirez at the ER and drove off, police said.
"We’d really like to talk to that person, if that person comes forward," Gonzalez said.
Ramirez had suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Detectives suspect the shooting stemmed from the red-versus-blue gang rivalry in the city. The night before, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed in a trailer park at 501 S. Green Valley Rd., and the party shooting may have been retaliation, police said.
"We’re looking into it," Gonzalez said. "We haven’t been able to associate them or disprove them.”
Details about how the shooting happened are scarce, including if the rival gang members were already at the party or if they showed up just to exact revenge, Gonzalez said.
“There were no gang slogans yelled," he said. "We’re assuming they’re opposing gang members, because of the victim’s status.”
Gonzalez said, “We know a little bit of what happened before, a little bit of what happened after, but no one cooperating to say they saw the murder ... We’re working on some leads, nothing really promising . We’re going in the direction the information is taking us.”
A man was killed during a party at the same apartment three years ago, police said. Prunedale resident Leonardo Perez Barajas, 20, was stabbed to death there in 2008. No one was ever arrested for his murder.
“Both of those were the result of this apartment having parties where gang members are attending," Gonzalez said, adding that the party was not specifically a gang gathering.
The third gang attack occurred Sunday evening. Gonzalez said detectives don't suspect that act of violence is tied to the homicide or the earlier stabbing.
The two stabbing victims, both 17, were in stable condition Monday, Gonzalez said.
On Monday morning, , encouraging both groups to be resilient and continue to fight gang violence.
Police ask anyone with information about the gang violence call the Investigations Bureau at 831-768-3350 or the anonymous tip line at 831-768-3544.