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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Vincente Christopher Moreno, 22, of Santa Cruz died Saturday in Santa Cruz's first homicide of the year

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Vincente Christopher Moreno, 22, of Santa Cruz died Saturday in Santa Cruz's first homicide of the year. Police have arrested two Watsonville men, one 17, one 19, they believe were involved in the slaying. Both will be arraigned today.Through tears Monday, Otis-Taul recalled the evening's events. She said she and Moreno were sitting on a Santa Cruz Metro bus about 11 p.m. Friday night when they were approached by two men.Otis-Taul said the unidentified 17-year-old suspect, who was arrested shortly after the stabbing, was on the bus when she and her boyfriend got on. At another stop 19-year-old Martin Holguin got on, according to Otis-Taul.
"Martin got on the bus and he threw up gang signs to my fiance," Otis-Taul said. "My fiance just laughed at him, he didn't even look his way."The couple exited on Morrissey Avenue, heading toward the Valero gas station on Soquel and Frederick Street. At the next block, the juvenile and Holguin got off, Otis-Taul said. The couple was crossing the street at Soquel and Frederick when the two men chased after Moreno, yelling gang slurs at him and hitting him. "I tried to pull both of them off of him. When I tried to pull Martin off, the other guy stabbed him and took off and was like let's go'. But before he left he jumped on his head, kicked him in the ribs."According to Otis-Taul, Moreno was still alive when he was transported to the hospital. "I was just talking to him and telling him to talk to me," Otis-Taul said. "He was still breathing for awhile but all of a sudden his eyes went back into his head."Otis-Taul said Moreno was in surgery for an hour but died about 2 a.m. Saturday. Police arrested the 17-year-old Friday night near Capitola Road and Soquel Avenue. Holguin was arrested about 3 a.m. Sunday at a campsite along the Pajaro River. Using a thermal imaging infrared camera from the Monterey County Sheriff's Department helicopter, the Santa Cruz Street Crimes Unit was able to locate and search the campsite during the night.Holguin was booked on suspicion of the homicide and is being held on $1 million bail and will face additional gang enhancement charges, according to Santa Cruz police. The juvenile was booked into Juvenile Hall on one charge of homicide, and will be charged as an adult. "I was just devastated. I proposed to him on New Year's Eve," Otis-Taul said. "He was a very sweet guy."
Otis-Taul said she met Moreno two years ago, when they lived on the same street in Santa Cruz. Only two houses separated them, when Moreno decided to introduce himself.
"I was walking on the street one day and he was with his buddies when he popped his head over the fence and we kind of went from there," Otis-Taul said.Moreno did landscape and carpentry work in Santa Cruz, according to Otis-Taul.According to police, the attack is considered gang-motivated. Moreno and Otis-Taul were both wearing red. Moreno was wearing a red belt with the letter N, commonly associated with a rival gang of the two suspects, police said."Without question, the motive of the attack was gang-related," Santa Cruz police spokesman Zach Friend said. "Whether the victim's gang affiliation was perceived or real does not take away from the fact that these two suspects brutally attacked someone simply for wearing a different color."

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Mariana Regalado said...

We will miss you so much Vincent. I remember when Bennie & I went to go & visit you & when you came back with us to Fresno & stayed with us for the weekend. All of this seems too unreal. I wish none of this happened. We will miss you so much but you will never be forgotten. I wish we would of gotten in contact with you earlier. You left nothing but good memories. May you rest in peace now.


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