Watsonville, CA (KSBW ) —
It started Monday night with a frightening attack on a Watsonville man, who was shot by his neighbor for making a derogatory comment about the shooter’s family. Manuel Adrian Perez, 22, remains in custody charged with attempted murder.
Mauro Martinez, 46, said he answered a knock at his door after 7 p.m. and was confronted by the gunman, who is his neighbor.
“I looked down and he had a gun, and he says, ‘Do you know what time it is? I brought this.’ Um, I said, ‘What are you talking about?'” recalled Martinez. “He says, ‘You know what I’m talking about’ and cocked back the gun and said, ‘I’m going to kill you.'”
The confrontation between the two neighbors happened on the second floor of a house located on the 600 block of Rodriguez Street in Watsonville.
Martinez said, he tried to knock the gun away but he got grazed by a bullet in the upper chest in the process.
“And then his brother, his sister and his mother pulled me into their house and proceeded to beat me up,” said Martinez.
Martinez recalled that the assailants tried to close the door but he managed wedge his foot in the opening to keep it open.
“Their intentions were to kill me. That’s what he said, so I was fighting for my life,” said Martinez.
There was a struggle for the gun and a second round went off going through the gunman’s own hand and then the bullet hit his sister.
“I fought back! I mean, what do you do? He’s got a gun and it’s just me! So, I stuck my thumbs in his eyes for him to let go of the gun. When he finally threw the gun ’cause he couldn’t see. I got up and ran to my room and dialed 911.”
Neighbors said there was an ongoing feud between the Martinez and Perez families. The Martinez family owns the home and the Perez family is its tenants.
Neighbors say they’ve contacted police many times, and Watsonville police confirmed they have responded multiple times for several types of different incidents.
“I think people really need to understand that sometimes we are limited to what we can do. There wasn’t a crime committed. We cannot go and arrest somebody if a crime was not committed,” said Watsonville Police Communications Specialist, Michelle Pulido, about the previous calls.
The teen who was shot is recovering at the hospital while Perez is being held at the Santa Cruz County jail.
Police have recovered the gun they believed was used in the shooting. It was registered to Perez.
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