SANTA CRUZ

Two men to face September trial

Two men accused of a gang-motivated attempted murder in Watsonville will face a trial on Sept. 9, a judge ruled Friday.

Edgar Ernesto Ibarra, 20, and Alex Huerta Rugerio, 19, are charged with shooting a 29-year-old man near Sudden Street and East Lake Avenue on May 3, Watsonville police said.

The victim's injuries were not life-threatening.

Ibarra was arrested a day after the shooting on suspicion of attempted murder.

Rugerio was arrested about a month later on West Beach Street. Police found a loaded revolver and meth on Rugerio.

Both face felony charges of attempted murder and street gang participation, according to court documents.

Ibarra is being held in Santa Cruz County Jail on $500,000 bail. Rugerio's bail is set at $750,000.

SANTA CRUZ

Store owner fights back

A Westside convenience store owner punched a beer thief in the face after being punched himself Thursday night, police said.

A man walked into Circle Market at 508 Errett Circle about 8:40 p.m., took two beers and walked out without buying them, Deputy Chief Steve Clark said.

When the 57-year-old owner of the store tried to stop the beer thief, the thief punched the owner twice in the face, causing a cut lip. The owner retaliated by punching the thief in the face once. The thief then fled with the beers on a mountain bike, Clark said.

Santa Cruz police ask anyone with information to call the anonymous tipline at 420-5995 or leave a tip at www.santacruzpolice.com or on its cellphone application at http://m.santacruzpolice.com.

SANTA CRUZ

Predictive policing nets one

A man was arrested early Friday with the help of Santa Cruz Police Department's predictive policing program. 

Around 12:40 a.m., an officer was patrolling the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Magnolia Street and noticed two men sitting in a white GMC pickup, said deputy chief Steve Clark.

The officer thought the two looked suspicious and, after talking with them, determined one of the two, 28-year-old Morgan Macleod of Santa Cruz, had a warrant for his arrest, Clark said.

Macleod had previous arrests related to car thefts and drug arrests.

"Based on Mr. Macleod's history, it's reasonable to assume he didn't have good intentions for that neighborhood," Clark said.

Macleod was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of pepper spray and the bench warrant.

The other person in the vehicle was detained and released.

Clark said it isn't unusual for officers to use predictive policing to find suspects.

"We want (officers) to take that knowledge, experience, intuition and put that to work in those predictive policing zones," Clark said.