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UPDATE: Thirteen-Year-Old Boy Shot, Killed In Drive-By Near Lower Ocean Street on Wednesday

Police and ambulances were called to San Lorenzo Boulevard and Bixby Street around 8 p.m. They found a boy shot twice in the back. He was coming home from football practice, his family said.

A 13-year-old suspected gang member was gunned down in Santa Cruz's Lower Ocean neighborhood Wednesday evening, Santa Cruz police reported.

Neighbors identified him as Joey Mendoza, who was walking home from football practice according to KSBW.

The fatal shooting happened at the corner of San Lorenzo Boulevard and Bixby Street near the . It's second homicide of the year in the city.

Details about what led up to the killing still were emerging Wednesday night. 

The teen was shot twice in the back. Police said the gunfire came from either a sedan or a van, based on statements by witnesses. 

A Good Samaritan saw the shooting, pulled over and gave the boy CPR, said Zach Friend, Santa Cruz police spokesman. 

A Santa Cruz police officer and Watsonville police officer, riding together in a Watsonville police car as part of the county's Gang Task force, were on the Riverside Avenue bridge when the call came through, Friend said. The officers were on scene within one minute.

The Santa Cruz officer also attempted CPR on the teen, Friend said.

The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sidewalks were blocked off and streets were shut down shortly after 8 p.m. as officers swarmed the area to investigate. Streets are expected to reopen early Thursday morning.

The teen had mutiple contacts with gang units in both Santa Cruz city and county, according to police.

Friends of the victim tearfully gathered on the levy and said the victim attended Gault Elementary School and then Branciforte Middle School. 

Victoria Chavez-Cruz, 13, was friends with the teen. She said he was funny and liked football.

"He was a really nice, sweet guy," Victoria said.

One neighbor was surprised the shooting wasn't louder.

"We didn't hear nothing, and we usually hear everything from our house," said Chris Twilligear, 22, who lives in Beach Flats.

Both homicides this year occurred in the Lower Ocean neighborhood, which leads thousands of tourists daily to the Beach Boardwalk.

"It's not surprising. These streets are known for this," said Ernesto "Cookie" Hernandez, 18, who was walking toward the beach. He lives on Campbell Street, by Broadway, near where Shannon Collins was stabbed to death on a weekday morning in May.

"I always know to look out and be careful," added Hernandez, saying he doesn't feel safe in the neighborhood he has lived in most of his life.

Kim McAdams August 10, 2012 at 05:54 AM
WHO is at fault? The coward murderer who is still on the loose. Lets pray the cops find this person and justice is served. Stop with the judgements people, a family lost their child.
david Puu August 10, 2012 at 10:30 PM
If there are no "judgements" then more could be lost. There is a cause and affect for most everything. This may have been this child's choice. The death will fall on the parents heads. That is their family. They are paying right now. Your town will be paying for quite some time. Everyone loses when focus is not applied. Reading the comments there appears to be comprehension of the various facets that led to this tragedy. Hope the killer is caught. Hope the gang is vaporized. But hope only goes as far as the first choice, which is to resist this being a regular occurrence. Hope it happens.
KAYLE CASTELLANOS August 11, 2012 at 12:21 AM
kayle castellanos joey mendoza was a nice friend i can't believe he's gone until we die i'll miss him with all my heart just like i miss my dad i'll always have them in mind i don't know why this happened he didn't do anything wrong for him to die like this his parents loved him with all their heart he was only thireen years old i wish this never happend it happened so quick cause i saw him a day before he died when ever i saw him i all ways saw a smile on his face at least he's in heavin resting in peace.
HizDesign October 18, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Sometimes david, the parent(s) are gangsters or associates of gangsters themselves. Some of the parents are just disgusted with their kid's behavior, i.e., poor grades and/or attendance, or just plain not being obedient to the parents. some parents are busy drinking or getting high, some busy working trying to etch out a living, others are, well, who knows where. Unfortunately kids don't just up and join gangs overnight. and then there are the parents who actually do what they can to keep their kid from getting involved in gangs, but (possibly) what they have to offer doesn't look as good as what a gangster lifestyle offers. Please don't interpret what I've said here as me thinking I know it all. I don't. We've just known some kids.
irma October 27, 2012 at 03:39 AM
I HATE HOW ALOT OF PEOPLE ARE BEING JUDGMENTAL WHEN THEY DIDN'T KNOW MY BOY ANTHONY. HE WAS THE SWEETEST SOON ANY MOTHER COULD EVER ASK FOR, I WAS PROUD OF WHO HE WAS. YEAH, HE WAD SURROUNDED BY GANG MEMBERS BUT HE WANT ONE OF THEM, HE WAS TRYING TO AVOID BEING ONE. AND IF I WAS SUCH A BAD MOTHER WHY WAS HE PLAYING FOOTBALL, WHY WAS HE GETTING STRAIGHT A'S IN SCHOOL??? YOUNG AND OLD LOVED HIM BECAUSE HE WAS WELL KNOWN FOR HIS GREAT SMILE, HOW RESPECTFUL HE WAS AND FOR HIS GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR, AND EVEN IF HE WOULD'VE BEEN A GANG MEMBER WHICH HE WASN'T, HE DIDN'T DESERVE TO DIE, HE WAS A 13 YEAR OLD, PRACTICALLY A BABY.....AND YES I'M A SINGLE MOTHER WHO WORKED TWO AND SOMETIMES THREE JOBS TO SUPPORT MY FIVE KIDS IM NOT A BABY POPPER, LIKE SOME IGNORANT PERSON COMMENTED HERE. SO PLEASE STOP JUDGING ME AND MY SON WHO IS NO LONGER HERE TO DEFEND HIMSELF BUT I AM, AND I WILL SPEAK UP IN HIS MEMORY!!!!!!! DO IF YOU GOT NOTHING GOOD TO SAY ABOUT HIM PLEASE KEEP YOUR RUDE COMMENTS TO YOUR SELF, IM PRETTY SURE IF YOU'RE BEING RUDE AND JUDGEMENTAL ITS BECAUSE YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT SO HAPPY WITH YOUR OWN PATHETIC LIVES, AND I WANNA THANK KIM, KAYLE AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO POSTED NICE COMMENTS HERE, GOD BLESS YOU SPECIALLY KAYLE :-)

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