“Oh my gosh, what’s happening to Santa Cruz?” Carlos Ortiz of Planet Fresh Gourmet Burritos said two days after a tragic shooting near the restaurant. “It wasn’t like this five years ago.”
Pauly Silva was shot and killed around 12:30am Saturday morning, over two hours after Planet Fresh closed, just outside the entrance to the upstairs Red Restaurant and Bar. Witnesses say Silva was shot by suspected gang members from a green or gray Mercedes on Locust Street. Police have made three arrests. Zisel Saunders and David Watson of the nearby Literary Guillotine said they feel safe downtown and worried that the murder would contribute to growing perception about safety problems downtown. “It’s unfortunate it reinforces ideas about how scary Santa Cruz is,” Watson said.
A memorial has sprung up outside the entrance to the Red with bouquets of flowers and plain white sign that reading “Never Forget Pauly Silva.” “May the 'Universal Force' forever cradle and comfort you,” Susie Kriz of Santa Cruz wrote in Silva’s memory at Legacy.com. “Your light will shine forever. May your family and friends find peace and comfort in knowing that your legacy is one of honor and righteousness.”