June 25, 2018

Five Suspects Identified in 6-23-18 Armed Robbery/ Assault with a Deadly Weapon Case

Over the weekend, SCPD Arrested Five Suspects Involved In An Armed Robbery & Assault with a Deadly Weapon Case

CASE UPDATE: Today, Detectives concluded interviews of the witnesses in the armed robbery incident on Saturday, June 23, 2018. The Santa Cruz Police Department has positively identified and arrested five suspects in this case. The following individuals were arrested for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Bryce Bertao, 19 years old, from Watsonville, Juan Escobar, 21 years old, from Castroville, Roberto Ramirez, 23 years old, from Watsonville, De'maria Strong, 19 years old, from Salinas and John Zarate, 22-year-old from Freedom.

Bryce Bertao, 19 years old, from Watsonville

Juan Escobar, 21 years old, from Castroville

Roberto Ramirez, 23 years old, from Watsonville

De'maria Strong,19 years old, from Salinas

John Zarate, 22-year-old from Freedom

BACKGROUND: On June 23, 2018, at 5:53 p.m. SCPD responded to the parking lot at 701 West Cliff Drive for the report of a victim shot in the head. Upon our arrival, we located one victim with multiple lacerations to his head including a grazing gunshot wound. The victim is a 50-year-old male and Santa Cruz County resident. The victim was treated at the scene by the Santa Cruz Fire Department and AMR, and transported to a local hospital. The victim’s injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

Multiple witnesses provided a suspect vehicle description, a license plate, and direction of travel. Shortly after the incident was reported, the suspect vehicle was located traveling south on Highway 1 and Chestnut St. The vehicle was a silver BMW. A high-risk car stop was initiated in the Harvey West area, and 5 suspects were detained. At this time the investigation is on-going, and the 5 suspects are being questioned. All 5 suspects are between 18-23 years old and from the Santa Cruz County and Monterey County area. The suspect’s names and photos are being withheld at this time due to the integrity of the investigation and follow up needed by Detectives.

It turns out the victim was approached by all 5 suspects demanding his property. A physical altercation ensued, and the victim was struck multiple times by all 5 suspects. During the altercation one of the suspects fired at the victim. Some of the stolen property was located inside the suspect vehicle and returned to the property owner.

Multiple agencies were involved in response to this incident including California Highway Patrol, Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office, Scotts Valley Police Department, Santa Cruz County Gang Task Force, Santa Cruz Fire Department and AMR.

The Santa Cruz Police Department is dedicated to our community with ongoing efforts to keep Santa Cruz a safe place to live, work and raise a family.