Third suspect arrested in fatal shooting near Santa Cruz levee

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SANTA CRUZ (KRON) — Santa Cruz police have arrested a third suspect accused in a fatal shooting last month near a Santa Cruz levee, police spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke said.

Police said 41-year-old Santa Cruz resident Cristobal Natividad was arrested in connection with being an accessory to the Aug. 23 shooting.

Natividad was connected with the shooting based on his close association with the two other suspects, Nino Ruiz, 27, and Jenessa Kic, 31, soon after the shooting, police said.

Officers found a handgun registered to Natividad’s relative at a home in the 2500 block of Capitola Road and believe it was used in the shooting, according to police.

The victim has been identified as Joseph Mikal Schuemaker, 24, prosecutors said.

The victim was found with a gunshot wound in his upper torso in the 400 block of Front Street on Aug. 23, when officers were notified of a body found in the area around 8:20 a.m. and emergency crews pronounced him dead at the scene, police said.

Ruiz and his girlfriend, Kic, were arrested in connection with the shooting hours later as they stepped out of a home on Leibrandt Avenue, police said.

Officers served search warrants at the home the couple had visited, police said.

The shooting is the city’s second homicide this year, police said.

Ruiz and Kic have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, according to online court records.

Ruiz has also pleaded not guilty to personally and intentionally discharging a firearm, online court records showed.

The couple is scheduled to return to court on Thursday morning to set a preliminary hearing.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the Police Department’s investigation section at (831) 420-5820.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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