One Victim Was A 4-year-old Child
WATSONVILLE—the Watsonville Police Department arrested 31-year-old Michael Angelo Escobar for his part in a disturbance in the parking lot between the Fish House Bar & Grill and The Valley Inn Motel, that left a 4-year-old toddler and a 34-year-old man dead last Friday night.
On Friday night, October 10 shortly before midnight, members of the Watsonville Police Department, assisted by the Santa Cruz County Gang Task Force, responded to the Fish House Bar and Grill on a report of a fight with weapons. When Officers arrived on scene, they heard multiple gunshots and saw several people running from the chaotic scene.
Police learned that two of the victims were fatally shot and another suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound. The first fatal victim was a 4-year-old girl from Watsonville who appears to have been caught in the crossfire. The toddler was struck by a stray bullet while in the back office of the restaurant. She was pronounced dead shortly after being rushed to the Watsonville Community Hospital.
The second fatality was a 34-year-old Watsonville man who was found on the ground near the Valley Inn motel. The third victim also in the back office with the toddler and was also hit with a stray bullet. The toddler was related to the restaurant owner. It appears they are all victims of gang violence.
“Worst case that we can recall in many years.” Watsonville Police Chief Manny Solano said, “I know you understand the impact this had, not only on our staff, but especially on the community, and especially on the families of the victims, and especially the the 4-year-old victim.”
Watsonville Police managed to apprehend two men, both of Watsonville, after a lengthy foot chase. One was later released, while Escobar is still in custody on murder charges.
Escobar has been involved in several incidents of the past few years. In 2009 he was reportedly shot in the leg by a rival gang member. His brother, in an apparent attempt at revenge, shot Angel Escobedo, a 19-year-old who was not even gang affiliated and not involved in Michael’s shooting. Julian was convicted of the murder in 2011.
Meanwhile, in 2011, Michael Escobar was accused of armed robbery of Bay Area Federal Credit Union with another man. They got away with $300,000.00. The District Attorney dropped charges against him, however, pursuant to a larger investigation, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The status of that case was not available.
The victims of the Fish House shooting were later identified. Ramon Rendon, 33, was killed in the parking lot fight. 26-year-old Emanuel Hernandez was wounded while in the Fish House office with the other 4-year-old victim, Jaelyn Zavala. Memorial funds have been set up in her name, one at Wells Fargo bank under the name Jaelyn Marie Zavala, account number 5284735320. Donors are welcome to contact Wells Fargo to donate to that fund. Another has been set up by the Marina Youth Soccer League, where Jaelyn played. Donors may click this link to donate or learn more.
Santa Cruz Sentinel: Details emerge on Watsonville double slaying suspect