Salinas police have arrested a 21-year-old man in a gang-related shooting early this morning that killed two people and wounded five others outside a taqueria, a police commander said.
Giovanni Pacheco was taken into custody early this afternoon on suspicion of two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder after the suspect fired into a crowd at the Taco's Choice eatery at 608 Williams Road, police Cmdr. Dave Shaw said.
Police responded to a call about a shooting at 1:38 a.m. today following a fight involving some agricultural field workers in the restaurant that spilled into the parking lot, Shaw said.
In the parking lot, the suspect used a handgun to fire "quite a few shots" at the crowd, hitting seven people, including a 22-year-old man shot multiple times who died at the scene, Shaw said.
Another victim, a 28-year-old man, later died at a hospital, police said.
Among those wounded were three 25-year-old men -- one with life-threatening injuries -- as well as a 53-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, Shaw said.
Police believe the shooting was gang-related and are in the process of identifying the people present during it, Shaw said.
Police located Pacheco based on interviews with witnesses, Shaw said.
Some of the wounded are recovering and have yet to be questioned, Shaw said.
"We're trying to find out exactly why the fight started as well," Shaw said.
The identities of the homicide victims are not being released until family members are notified, Shaw said.
Today's shootings came as Salinas has been experiencing a wave of violence that has claimed the lives of seven people since July 24.
The killings have taxed the city's Police Department, which has been suffering staff cutbacks, Shaw said.
"We are drastically understaffed," Shaw said. "We are pretty much spent right now."
Meanwhile, police are still seeking a suspect in the shooting death of 23-year-old man in Salinas on Sunday morning, Shaw said.
Police responded to a report of shots fired at 10:21 a.m. Sunday at 1126 Parkside Drive and then the family of Rubin Francisco, 23, called to say that he had been shot, police said.
Francisco died at the scene after police officers attempted to administer CPR, police said.
His family members told police that Francisco had only been in Salinas for 15 days and was not affiliated with a street gang.
Witnesses in the neighborhood told police that the shooter drove away in a dark-colored compact car, police said.
Salinas police urge anyone with information about today's shootings or Francisco's death to call the Police Department at (831) 758-7321 or the tip line at (831) 775-4222.