On Oct. 16, Santa Cruz High School student Tyler Tenorio was stabbed multiple times in the upper torso near the corner of Chestnut and Laurel streets.
Investigators believe that prior to the stabbing, a group of gang members had yelled gang slogans and territorial claims at Tenorio and his friends as they drove on Laurel Street toward Myrtle Street. Tenorio and his friends pulled around the corner and confronted the gang members.
Witnesses told police that Tenorio was engaged in an argument with a group of males before one of them stabbed him.
At about 1 p.m. Tuesday, Pasqual Reyes, a 21-year-old suspected gang member from Live Oak, was arrested in connection with the death of Tenorio, according to police.
Reyes, who was already in custody in Santa Cruz County jail on a weapons charge, was linked to the homicide via forensic evidence, tips and witness information, police said.
Later Tuesday evening, Walter Escalante, a 24-year-old suspected gang member from Watsonville, was also arrested in connection with Tenorio's death.
Escalante was taken into custody by Watsonville police on an unrelated probation violation before it was later determined he was also wanted for the homicide, according to police.
Escalante was linked to the scene of the murder by forensic evidence and witness statements, police said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have determined that Escalante is in the country illegally, according to police.
A third suspect, Daniel Onesto, a 20-year-old Santa Cruz man, had also been arrested in the days after the murder and remains in custody, police said.
The fourth suspect, Paulo Luna, 23, is believed to have fled to Mexico late last year. ICE agents are working with Mexican authorities to locate and arrest Luna, according to police.
The two arrests this week were "a significant step toward justice," Santa Cruz Police Chief Howard Skerry said in a statement.
"But we recognize we owe it to this family, and every other family of a homicide victim, to not rest until everyone responsible is in custody," Skerry said.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department's investigations section at (831) 420-5820 or the anonymous tip line at (831) 420-5995.