Friends and students said that Pauly Silva, 32, was the man slain Saturday morning at 12:30 outside the Red Room, a bar in downtown Santa Cruz.
The drive-by shooting was apparently gang related, although they said that Silva was not involved in gangs. He had a twin brother who is, they said.
Patch has spoken with a number of people close to Silva, but is keeping their names out of this report to protect them because the crime is apparently gang-related.
"It's a terrible loss for the community and he also has a baby and that's the part that makes this so much worse," said a woman who trained with him. "Maybe this will get more attention to gang violence."
Silva taught at Kaijin Mixed Martial Arts on the Westside.
Police hadn't released information on the victim's identity, although it was spread through Facebook and Instagram.
Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said the man was shot at about 12:30 a.m. just outside the Locust Street entrance to the popular restaurant and bar, largely frequented by students.
Witnesses reported a green or grey Mercedes associated with the shooting. A car matching the description was stopped by Watsonville Police near Green Valley Road. Two of the occupants were brought back to Santa Cruz for questioning.
Police called out a multi-agency alert called a R.O.P.E., which seeks to find suspects throughout the area as soon after a crime has occurred as possible. They seek to monitor all escape routes out of the county.
Police at 4 a.m. pounded on the door of a home off Water Street, according to witnesses, where residents had two older Mercedes cars.
One man in Santa Cruz has been arrested on outstanding warrants and the two men stopped in Watsonville are being held on other charges. They are members of a Norteno gang, according to Clark.
Detectives are working to put together the facts about the murder and worked through the night following leads.
Anyone with information is asked to call Police Investigations at (831) 520-5815.
This was the first murder of the year in the city. There were three last year. There were 10 homicides in the county in 2012.