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'Gang Member' Moves Out, But Gunfire Still Targets New Family

by Phil Helsel /
Watsonville, Calif. police have a message for gang members: The house on Ford Street that you have targeted twice over the past couple of months with shootings is not home to the teenager you're trying to kill.KSBW

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A California home has been targeted by gunfire twice in two months, injuring a 9-year-old in one case — and police believe the shootings could be targeting a jailed gang member who no longer lives there, and has no connection to the current occupants.

“There's nothing but children in that home,” Gloria Jimenez Navarro, a neighbor of the home in Watsonville, a town of around 51,000 a little less than 20 miles southeast of Santa Cruz, told NBC affiliate WSFB.

Watsonville, Calif. police have a message for gang members: The house on Ford Street that you have targeted twice over the past couple of months with shootings is not home to the teenager you're trying to kill.KSBW

The new family, from Oaxaca, Mexico, moved into the Ford Street home after a suspected gang member, Adolfo Pantoja, moved out months ago, according to WSFB.

The home was shot at on March 8, wounding a 9-year-old in his bedroom, and again on Sunday, the station reported.

"He is definitely a gang member," Watsonville police Sgt. Eric Montalbo said of Pantoja in an interview with the station.

"We believe it's very possible that rival gang members are targeting that residence because they believe the individual lives there or his family members living there," Montalbo told the station.

Pantoja, 18, was arrested in Watsonville in February and is charged with stabbing a 19-year-old Watsonville man in the face and torso in Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz police said in a statement.

Pantoja is being held in lieu of bail at the Santa Cruz Jail and is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree robbery and two counts of participating in a criminal street gang, according to jail records.

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