Watsonville 16-year-old shot in head by boyfriend, a suspected gang member, police say

Jennifer Squires
04/06/2010

WATSONVILLE — A suspected gang member allegedly shot his 16-year-old girlfriend in the head at their home on Jeanette Way on Sunday afternoon, Watsonville police reported.

The teen girl remained hospitalized Monday but is expected to recover, police said.

The couple told officers the gunfire was accidental, but Sgt. Saul Gonzalez said investigators suspect otherwise and the boyfriend, 18-year-old Jose Antonio Rodriguez, was jailed on suspicion of attempted murder.

“This is a domestic,” Gonzalez said. “They’re saying it’s an accident. Our evidence shows it’s not accidental.”

Gonzalez declined to comment further on the case.

The girl was struck in the right side of her forehead with a .22-caliber bullet. Her brother drove her to Watsonville Community Hospital, where hospital staff called police around 1:20 p.m. Sunday, according to Gonzalez.

The injured girl was conscious and able to talk with detectives before she was flown to an out-of-county trauma center for treatment, police said. She remained hospitalized Monday in stable condition, according to Gonzalez.

Rodriguez was arrested at the Jeanette Way house, where he and his girlfriend live with her relatives. Rodriguez was wearing bloody clothes and appeared remorseful when officers got there, according to police.

“He pretty much surrendered,” Gonzalez said.

He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and allegations he used a gun and is a gang member.
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He was booked into County Jail and held on $175,000 bail, according to jail records.

The shooting was not gang retaliation, police noted.

“The gang allegations are not because of the domestic violence, they’re because of the gun,” Gonzalez said.

Crime scene investigators found a .22-caliber handgun stashed in the bushes in front of the house, according to police.

“Teen dating violence in general is on the rise. It has escalated,” said Laura Segura Gallardo, executive director of Women’s Crisis Support-Defensa de Mujeres, a countywide domestic violence prevention and intervention program.

Also, gang members might be more likely to abuse a significant other, according to Segura Gallado.

“Oftentimes they’re desensitized to violence because they’ve seen it or been around it in their homes or the community,” she said.

Segura Gallardo said concerns about violence in teenage dating relationships led her agency to establish support groups for teens subjected to violence by their partners at several area high schools. They recently started a new group at Lakeview Middle School.

“People are recognizing that it’s increasing,” she said. “Domestic violence prevention really needs to happen early on. That way we can stop the next generation of violence.”

This year, two women have been killed in domestic violence incidents in the county.

Deanna Dudley, 37, suffered mortal injuries when her boyfriend bludgeoned her with a flashlight in their Felton home on Feb. 28. Dudley died at the hospital. Her boyfriend, Richard Chavez, 40, has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder.

Nichole “Nikki” Schrock, 24, of Seaside was gunned down by her ex-boyfriend while she worked at the 7-Eleven at Ocean Street and Broadway on New Year’s Day. Illya IC’ Cavlan, 42, of San Jose then turned the gun on himself.

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2 Comments for “Watsonville 16-year-old shot in head by boyfriend, a suspected gang member, police say”

  1. […] Watsonville 16-year-old shot in head by boyfriend, a suspected gang member, police say Jennifer Squires 04/06/2010 WATSONVILLE — A suspected gang member allegedly… […]

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