Watsonville police responded to a report of a shooting in the area of Fifth and Rodriguez streets at 6:54 p.m., Sgt. Michael Ridgway said.
The victim suffered a single gunshot wound to the lower back and was airlifted to a trauma center, Ridgway said.
Witnesses reported seeing a light-colored sedan fleeing the area east on Fifth Street towards Main Street, he said.
Officers believe the car and victim were traveling in the same direction before the shooting occurred, Ridgway said.
No arrests have been made and there is no information on the suspect, he said.
Police do not believe the shooting was gang related.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Watsonville Police Department Investigation Bureau at (831) 768-3544 or anonymous tip line at (831) 768-3544.