Police arrested four alleged gang members Saturday, hours after they reportedly shot a 15-year-old on Murray Street off Seabright Avenue at 1:30 a.m.
The gang members were stopped in Aptos after a high-speed chase from Seventh Avenue. A joint effort by the California Highway Patrol, Capitola Police, the Sheriff's Office and Santa Cruz Police led to the arrest of four people, aged 15, 20, 25 and 27, after their car ran over a spike strip on Clubhouse Drive in Aptos.
While Santa Cruz Police were responding to a call for help from the shooting victim, California Highway Patrol officers saw a car speeding at 7th Avenue and Eaton Street. They began a pursuit that led to Clubhouse Drive in Aptos, where officers had set up a spike strip to stop the speeding car.
The occupants of the car fled when it stopped. Two were picked up in yards by the team of officers. Two others were captured later with help from a Police K-9.
Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said that the suspects are Norteño gang members from Watsonville. The victim was flown to a trauma center with multiple gunshot wounds.
"Our biggest concern with gang violence is collateral danger to the community, innocent bystanders being caught up in the violence," said Deputy Chief Steve Clark. "This incident really underscores how the gang problem is really a regional problem. Not just Santa Cruz or Watsonville, but the whole Central Coast."
Clark said crime numbers are going down, but the violence seems to be going up.
And, he added that the court system is releasing people too soon. One of the suspects in this case was released from prison as part of the early release cost-cutting prison programs.