WATSONVILLE -- Police said Monday the man shot to death on Second Street on Friday was Marco Topete, a Watsonville resident who turned 18 last week.
School district officials said Topete attended New School, an alternative school in Watsonville.
Sgt. Eric Taylor said he does not believe Topete was a gang member, though they do have records indicating he associated with a Sureño gang.
Topete also had been the target of a shooting in October, and was shot in the back then, Taylor said.
On Friday, shortly before 9 p.m., Topete was riding a bike on Second Street near Walker Street when he was shot several times, police said. He died on a sidewalk there.
Topete's mother, Griselda Topete of Watsonville, said her son recently was trying to get work as a welder.
He was a senior who had attended Watsonville High School and had grown up in Watsonville, his mother said. He was the second of seven children and his dad is a fieldworker, she said.
Griselda Topete said her son was in a car in October when he was shot, and that she didn't know why he had been targeted.
He was a funny young man who liked spending time with family and friends, she said.
Friends and family gathered Monday at the family's apartment near Callaghan Park. A shrine was placed on a table there with photos of Marco, candles, flowers and sweets.
His parents are fieldworkers and family members are raising money to help with burial
Topete's cousin, Alma Topete, said they held a car wash at Kmart on Freedom Boulevard Monday and even went door-to-door seeking help.
"A lot of people are trying to help, and we are realizing how many friends he had," she said.
She said she called police because of Facebook posts threatening those at the car wash. She said they saw gang members drive by, but police were on hand and there were no problems.
Marco's young girlfriend is pregnant with his child, family member said.
She had tears in her eyes Monday as she spoke with his sisters and his cousin.
The family has attended St. Patrick's Catholic Church, she said. They have not yet arranged funeral services.
Police said an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
On Friday, Topete was with a 16-year-old friend who lives in the area where the shooting occurred, Taylor said.
The friend was not cooperative with investigators, he said.
Police suspect the shooting is gang-related, but the specific motive is unclear.
"I can't really speak to motive right now," Taylor said. "It's going slow. Not many people want to come forward and help out, which is typical in these cases. It's tough, but we're continuing to develop some leads."
A white Lexus sedan was seen in the area at the time of the shooting, though it's unclear if that car was involved in the crime, Taylor said. But police would like to speak to the people who were in that car and any others who have information on the homicide. Friday's homicide was the first in the county this year.
Police ask anyone with further information regarding the case to call the Investigations Unit at 831-768-3352 or the crime tipline at 831-768-3544. Tips may be left anonymously.
Follow Sentinel reporter Cathy Kelly on Twitter at Twitter.com/cathykelly9