WATSONVILLE — Watsonville Police arrested local resident Rigoberto Rodriguez on June 26th, after he was seen wielding a machete and causing a disturbance outside a business on Freedom Boulevard.
An officer arrived on scene at approximately 5 PM and a witness directed him toward the suspect, whom he saw making throat-cutting gestures to the people inside the business.
As the officer approached Rodriguez, he saw that he was holding a backpack that contained a machete. Rodriguez made a quick move for the machete but the officer was able to grab the backpack and get it away from Rodriguez. Rodriguez then attempted to punch the officer but missed.
A struggle ensued as the officer tried to gain control of the suspect. A bystander who saw the fight also intervened and helped the officer cuff Rodriguez. Later, as he was escorted into the patrol car, Rodriguez kicked another officer in the torso, though with little to no effect as the officer not injured.
“The suspect appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant,” said Watsonville Police Sergeant Eric Taylor. “This was unusual for him to be acting in this manner.”
Officers investigated Rodriguez’s behavior and found that he had been chasing a female who ran into California Grill, where three employees came to her aid — one called the police and the other two shielded her from Rodriguez.
Rodriguez left and waited outside, motioning to the women that he was going to slit their throats. It was the courage of the three California Grill employees as well as the unnamed bystander that kept the woman safe and facilitated Rodriguez’s arrest.
“We do appreciate the public’s help when it is needed, but people should assess the situation before jumping in,” Sergeant Taylor added. “We don’t want the public getting hurt.”
Rodriguez was transported and booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail.