Man Badly Hurt in Gang Brawl

No one's talking about the fight on the Pajaro River levee.

A clash between rival gangs on the Pajaro River levee left one man with a life-threatening head injury and police with few leads about the estimated 20-person brawl Wednesday evening.

The violence was reported around 6:13 p.m. near the Pajaro River Bridge at Main Street. Witnesses said about 20 people were involved, police said. Apparently, a large group of gang members had attacked two rivals.

The brawlers scattered when cops arrived. Officers saw some running east on the levee toward Lincoln Street and the man with head injuries was found near Marchant Street, police said.

The injured man, age 21, had multiple head injuries. It wasn't clear if he had been hit with a blunt object or stabbed, police said. He was conscious and was not cooperative with officers.

The man was flown to an out-of-county trauma center for treatment. He suffered life-threatening wounds and was listed in critical condition late Wednesday.

No arrests have been made. Detectives ask that anyone with information about the case call the Investigations Division at (831) 768-3350 or the Crime Tip Line at (831) 768-3544.

David H. Perez August 02, 2012 at 03:37 PM
So here we go, the cochroaches are at it again. Funny how these "tough guys" run like a bunch of scared little chihuahuas when the police show up. What a bunch of cowards and woosies! As usual, the piece of trash who was injured won't talk, so the rest of this scum remains in the community while we wait for the next incident, where a bullet could hit any of us who are passers-by. Meantime, we pay for this loser's helicopter ride to the out-of-county trauma center and his medical care. This, while MANY honest and law-abiding citizens can't afford medical care for their basic needs. I certainly pay dearly for my medical insurance. I think we should just leave these gangster losers lay where they are injured and let their homies take care of them. Is anybody besides me completely FED UP with this kind of nonsense???>
Hawkins August 02, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I wonder what impact the recent gang violence will have on Strawberry Festival attendance? It's come up in multiple conversations where people have said they're either not going to considering not going. I'm certainly thinking twice about taking my children.
David H. Perez August 02, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Rob, you make an excellent point. Another way I look at it, though, is we should ask ourselves whether we are going to let these losers dictate where we go and what we do. If we do that, they win, just like with the terrorists and Homeland Security. But yes, the reality is that we have to watch out for the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. I would hope that our local law enforcement agencies and probation will team up to conduct a major gang surveillance/suppression operation this weekend during the Strawberry Festival.
Jennifer Squires August 02, 2012 at 04:15 PM
They do a pretty good job of keeping the Strawberry Festival family-friendly. Police cadets work the parking areas, so they can alert officers to any problems before they hit the main drag. Also, the festival is only during the day and no alcohol is served.
David H. Perez August 02, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Jennifer - The past several years, wine and beer was served at the Strawberry Festival. Has that changed? Also, neither a glass of wine nor a beer will automatically transform a person into a gang member. I had a glass (plastic) of wine at the Strawberry Festival last year, and I have somehow managed to stay out of gangs.
Jennifer Squires August 02, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Wow. I didn't realized there is a beer/wine garden. That's surprising, given the city's usual stance on alcohol sales. My point by my incorrect belief that it was achohol-free is that booze can attract a different crowd and also be a catalyst for fights, etc. Not among everyone, of course, but it can be a tipping point.
David H. Perez August 02, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Yeah, Jennifer, but how many of "those types" are going to get liquored up on chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon at the festival before they start shooting each other? And the festival charges a ridiculous price for disgusting box or jug type mass-produced central valley stuff they try to pass off as wine. It would be more cost-effective for the riff raff to schlep in their own malt liquor, so I don't think we have to worry about them raiding the beer/wine garden. As a side note (you know I am skilled at getting off the subject), I have always wondered why the city does not support our wonderful local wineries by serving their wines rather than that swill in a box or jug from some other area.
Scott Hallgren August 02, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I'm not sure what I find more disturbing, the threat of gang violence or the not-so-sublte racial undertones of these posts. I spend the majority of my time in Watsonville, often times in near proximity to gang members, and my kids are usually present. At no time have any of them presented even the slightest threat to us. It's a huge leap between violence at the river levee, a relatively isolated spot, and gang violence at the srawberry festival. If you want to do something about gangs, more than complain anyway, volunteer with an organization that offers educational services to at-risk-youth. Or, rally for equal wages and equal access. People don't join gangs because of some inherant genetic predisposition to crime, it's a product of desperation that results when entire generations of people are systematically stripped of their most basic rights. But people don't want to rally behind that. They prefer to point the finger at "those people" and write it off as someone else's problem.
David H. Perez August 02, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Scott - Would you please specifically point out to me the "not-so-subtle racial undertones" you are talking about? You do not even know me, so before you make an ignorant statement like that again, point out the specific examples you are referring to. As far as I know, gangsters come in all colors - it just so happens we live in a community that is predominantly Latino (including myself, FYI). I am glad you and your kids are comfortable around gang members, but what about all of the innocent people lately who have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and had their homes or cars shot into in the midst of crossfire? A friend of mine was recently in her car when she was struck by some gangsters fleeing from police. I'm sorry, but this kind of behavior is indefensible. If you want to be a bleeding heart and defend these terrorists who are wreaking death and destruction on our community and costing us all a lot of money, then go for it. Incase they haven't noticed, these poor little gangsters who, as you say, have been stripped of their basic rights, are entitled to a free education like everyone else. Maybe they should make use of that benefit. Adult Education offers some great classes that are very low cost, and they tend to have a lot of openings. And yes, jobs are hard to come by for everyone. Maybe these gangsters would do well to put as much effort into making something of themselves as they do committing crimes.
Wayne Green August 02, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Racial undertones? I won't be so subtle, yes, the mexican people of Watsonville and Tijuana and Panama and whereever the hell else only know how to screw and kill. Those gangsters that shoot bullets and rob cookie dough should all line up for the firing squad, nooses whatever gets the job done. This town and its idiot city officials and simian city councilmen (except for the husky lady on there) are all morons. "Those people" belong in cages!
David H. Perez August 02, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Wayne - Don't you think you are being a little over the top? For some reason, I am always the one who gets called a racist, but look at you! Go figure. Anyway, I need to correct you on three points: 1) Panama is in Central America, not Mexico. And the people of Panama are called Panamanians, not Mexicans. 2) I am a person in Watsonville of Mexican descent who has never been in trouble with the law, and who has never screwed or killed anyone. So I am one exception to your rule. 3) In the "dough" robbery that was in the news earlier, the thieves stole money, not cookie dough.
Scott Hallgren August 02, 2012 at 09:10 PM
David- when I said "these posts" I'm referring to a general tone that comes across. For your post specifically, you don't think using the words "cockroaches" and "chihuahuas" has any relation to stereotypes (whether you meant it that way or not)? And I actually agree with you that any behavior that harms innocent people is indefensible; I'm not defending the behavior. What I'm referring to is comments like the one Wayne posted in which these behaviors are attributed to race/ethnicity with zero regard to social conditions. What I'm saying is, if people are truly tired of gang violence, doesn't it make sense to take actions that address the cause rather than trying to treat the symptoms? My point was not to defend gangs but to point out that incarceration and finger pointing aren't going to solve the problem. I was also saying that this situation is not just cause for people to panic and avoid Watsonville. There is crime everywhere and Watsonville is still a beautiful city. Something does indeed need to be done to curb the violence but if people can't invest the time to look at the issue in it's entirety, we will continue to spin our wheels, waste resources, and solve nothing. Doesn't it make sense to take measured action instead of simply blaming Mexicans like Wayne did?
David H. Perez August 02, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Scott - A cockroach is a bug that is not of any particular ethnicity, and which can be found in many places around the world. I do not understand how the term cockroach would relate to a racial stereotype. If I would have said "worm" or "vermin", would that be any different? If I would have referred to an Irish setter instead of a chihuahua, would that then make me prejudiced against Irish people? I think you are being ridiculous in this regard. I also do not blame all Mexicans - otherwise I would be blaming myself. I do agree with you that we certainly need to come up with some effective interventions to treat the cause of all of this violence. It just pisses me off (does the Patch allow me to say that?) that innocent people and families in Watsonville can't even feel safe sitting in their own homes. Yes, it is like that in many other cities as well, but Watsonville is where I live. So, what are you doing to work toward a solution, and what do you suggest I do?
Cathy P. August 02, 2012 at 10:34 PM
"...it's a product of desperation that results when entire generations of people are systematically stripped of their most basic rights." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ That's not what I've read about why people join gangs and I'd "rally behind that" if it were true. Gangs and the problems they cause isn't someone else's problem, I agree, it is the whole community's problem - those of us who live here full time anyway. The Watsonville Police Dept is doing the best job they can to curb the (daily) violence, what in the world is the untrained, average citizen supposed to do that the police aren't doing? Except for being extra eyes and ears for the police and reporting suspicious activity and courageously "standing up" when needed, I'm not putting my or my family's lives on the line for criminals & cowards. "...stripped of their most basic rights," sounds like a pretty naive excuse to me.
Scott Hallgren August 02, 2012 at 11:17 PM
As to your question about what I'm doing, I started a volunteer organization that offers free tutoring/mentoring and leadership programs for at-risk youth. Three times a week we go into the communities where our students live and we organize field trips and activities that help kids develop a sense of identity and inner strength so that they can hopefully carve out a life for themselves that does not involve gangs. In other words, we try to help them see the many options they have and how to get where they want to go. Not everyone has the time to volunteer but there are other things that can be done. First and foremost, people need to look a little deeper at the issue and cast votes that support initiatives that will make a real difference. There needs to be more emphasis placed on prevention rather than punnishment.
Watzon McWats August 02, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Gang bangers sure as hell aren't gonna tell me where I can and can't go. Stand up for yourself and don't be afraid. There are fifty thousand of us, and only five or six hundred of them.
Watzon McWats August 02, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Thought: If good people actually used the levee trails, the bad people wouldn't loiter there.
Wayne Green August 02, 2012 at 11:44 PM
David, I could care less what the hell Mexicans from Panama call themselves. Maybe the fact that you're half Mexican is why you hate Mexicans so much too. If there's anything that jungle fever at-risk Scott guy has right its that you think theyre all sob's too. Come out of the closet already. And as for Scott, you are helping ten kids who will forget you ten months after they last see you. I think confused David would agree, its not that we need more emphasis on prevention than punishment, we need more emphasis on extermination than punishment. Cho-los and their children and their babies' mommies and their children's children are all a drag on our society. Wake up!
Joe Strung August 03, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Wow! ok, lets try to be more diplomatic and watch our language, certain language can make one come off as having said a racist thing. We're all friends here working to improve our community. Now i know nobody here hates anybody for their race, that would just be wrong. Please if anybody finds yourself having such feelings learn that its wrong to discriminate someone based on their race, sexual perfrence, etc. Maybe its not your fault that you think and feel that way, but its not right. Maybe someone of Latino descent did you wrong, so you think they all must be that way, that's a false assumption and an unfair one. Hate is wrong, its the very poison that keeps our world at war, we must learn to tolerate each other, understand that no body is perfect. Forgive each other and learn to treat one another with love and respect. Its time to end Hate


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