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.