.No Arrests Made in Watsonville’s Second Shooting Death of 2022

Mother says victim was striving to ‘clean up’ life

The Watsonville man who was shot and killed Sunday afternoon in downtown was working to turn his life around, his mother said.

On Wednesday, at a large makeshift altar at the site of where her son died, Roxanne Ortiz said Adrian Ayala, 19, “was making efforts to clean up his life and make positive changes,” as she tidied up the altar and set out fresh flowers.

Watsonville Police Department Sgt. Jarrod Pisturino said the shooting took place around 11:20am on the 100 block of Brennan Street. Police cordoned off a huge slice of downtown Watsonville after the shooting.

Officers combed the parking lot of the Watsonville Woman’s Club and the adjoining Brennan Medical Center where the victim was found.

A large crowd of people gathered, some sobbing and embracing one another outside the crime scene Sunday that was hemmed in with yellow crime tape. Ortiz, at one point, cried out loud, “My baby, my baby!” A man watching the drama unfold, said, “Someone shot and killed my family member.”

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Ortiz said her son had been working out and playing basketball with friends at the nearby YMCA and that he was chased by several youths as he left the YMCA.

WPD officers say they retrieved at least four bullets that traveled through the front wall of Salon Hair We Are at 21 Brennan St., that same complex that houses the Good Times’ sister paper The Pajaronian.

Ortiz added that her son had recently been baptized, was attending church and had got a job at UPS, where he just received his first paycheck.

“People can make mistakes, but they can also turn their life around,” she said. “That is what he was doing: Trying to become a better person.”

The investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made.

The death marks the second homicide in Watsonville this year. On April 2 Feliciano Martinez Parea was gunned down in a carport on the 100 block of Riverside Drive. Two men were arrested.

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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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