WATSONVILLE—Authorities with the Watsonville Police Department arrested Merino Zarate, 18, and Ernesto Murrillo, 19, both of Watsonville for shooting into an inhabited dwelling, evading police and resisting arrest.
At About 4:20 p.m. on Monday, Police responded to a report of shot fired into a house on Pennsylvania Avenue and Clifford Avenue. While heading to the area a Watsonville Police officer noticed the suspected vehicle, a maroon Mitsubishi, leaving the area. As the vehicle left the area the driver, Zarate, ran a stop sign. When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle it pulled into the parking lot of the Watsonville Community Hospital on Neilson Road. As the officer tried to make contact with the occupants the driver sped away and a chase ensued.
“An Officer spotted the car that was reported to be in a drive-by shooting and attempt to stop it, but it led him on a short chase.” Watsonville Police Department’s Lieutenant David McCartney said. The chase went down Highway 1 for a bit and then down Green Valley Road and Main Street until the driver veered into Watsonville Square Shopping Center and cashed into a parked car. The Two teenagers tried to flee on foot but were later caught and arrested. A juvenile aged 14, who was also riding in the vehicle, was cited and released to his parents.
Zarate and Murrillo were both booked into Santa Cruz County Jail. Zarate faces charges of driving while intoxicated, evading police and resisting arrest. Murrillo faces charges of evading police and resisting arrest. They both face charges of shooting into an inhabited dwelling with gang enhancements. “The two were identified as gang members.” Lieutenant McCartney added.
This incident is still under investigation Watsonville Police Department is asking anyone with information is encouraged to call the Watsonville Police Investigation Unit at 831-768-3350.
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