SANTA CRUZ -- A 19-year-old man and four teens, all from Watsonville, were arrested Monday in the homicide of 12-year-old Joey Mendoza, who was shot to death in Santa Cruz in August 2012.
Mendoza was on his way home to the Lower Ocean neighborhood when he was confronted by teens in a car and shot at several times, police said.
Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said investigators have been tracking the suspects since the weeks that followed the homicide, but new evidence led to the arrest of 19-year-old Andrew Carrera and the four younger suspects on Monday.
"It's great to bring closure to this case," Clark said.
Carrera was arrested on suspicion of homicide with a gang enhancement, discharging a firearm from a vehicle with a firearm enhancement, police said.
The other teens arrested on the same charges include two 17-year-old boys, who were in custody at Juvenile Hall, and two 15-year-old boys, who were living in group homes in Placerville and Exeter. Police have not identified the teens because they are minors.
All the suspects lived in the Watsonville area when the shooting happened and are Norteño gang members, Clark said.
Police said a sixth suspect is in another California jail and will be arrested shortly.
Monday morning, police had been monitoring Carrera's Watsonville home and searched it as Carrera was arrested near Highway 1 and Buena Vista Drive, police said.
Carrera remained in Santa Cruz County Jail on Monday in lieu of $1 million bail, according to jail records.
This story will be updated.
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