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Man on the Loose after Shooting UCSC Girl in Head

Police are looking for a man who shot a student on Natural Bridges Drive. He could be anywhere in the county, if not farther away by now.

A Santa Cruz college student who thought an armed robber hit her in the head with a rifle Monday actually had been shot, a police spokesman said today.

Police are on the hunt for the man, who could be anywhere in the county, if not farther away by now. 

The woman, a 21-year-old student at the University of California at Santa Cruz, was at a bus stop on Natural Bridges Drive in Santa Cruz at about 7:30 p.m. when a man approached her from a wooded area, Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said.

The man, wearing a bandana over his face, pointed what the woman thought was a rifle at her and demanded she empty her pockets and hand over what she had, Clark said.

She told the suspect "I don't have anything," and the armed man came up behind her and inflicted what she thought was a blow to her head from the rifle, Clark said.

The woman pressed a button on a pole that activated a light at the bus stop then ran down Natural Bridges Drive and waved to get a motorist to pull over, Clark said.

As she ran she looked back and saw the suspect pick up her backpack, where she kept her wallet and laptop, Clark said.

The driver of the car called 911, Clark said.

The woman told police officers what happened while medical personnel examined her head wound, Clark said.

"The paramedics thought she just sustained a cut," Clark said.

But when they took her to Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, they looked at the x-rays and found a small-caliber bullet, a .22 or a .32, lodged in her skull, Clark said.

The bullet, which was on the outer layer of her skull, was removed by neurosurgeons and she is expected to make a full recovery, Clark said.

"Had that been a higher caliber bullet, we'd have a different story," Clark said.

Officers searched the area using metal detectors and police dogs Monday night and resumed the search Tuesday, but the suspect is still at large.

Detectives interviewed the victim Tuesday afternoon to prepare a composite sketch, or as best as could be made since the suspect had a bandana on his face, Clark said.

The woman was able to describe the man as white or light skinned, wearing jeans, a gray hoodie and a red bandana in a triangle covering his face with a gruff-sounding voice and several days of beard growth.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call the Santa Cruz Police Department investigations unit at 831-420-5820.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

j8 February 13, 2013 at 03:23 AM
SANTA CRUZ IS NOT THE NICE PLACE IT USED TO BE, THANKS TO OUR HORRIBLE JUDGES WHO COULD NOT GROW A PAIR IF THERE LIVES DEPENDED ON IT!
northstar February 13, 2013 at 04:14 AM
I agree with the above, and I am not a fan of draconian measures. However, after recently accompanying a friend to court, where she was facing felony domestic violence...I witnessed repeat violent offenders receiving minor sentences. I was shocked. I own JAIL101.COM and wrote the "JAIL101". I've been in many a court room. Santa Cruz needs to dismiss the rehab approach and start punishing people!!
Cathy P. February 13, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Luis Alejo's said "There have been too many shootings, too much violence. This funding (AB 310) can make a real difference in making our neighborhoods safer." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Yeah, tell this to the young woman who had the small-caliber bullet, a .22 or a .32, lodged in her skull...
Susan O'Day February 13, 2013 at 02:59 PM
J8..............I could not agree with you more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Susan O'Day February 13, 2013 at 03:03 PM
northstar, I agree with you and am also not a fan of draconian measures, but I see the same names in the local crime reports and arrests all the time..these judges let these repeat offenders off too easily .. They are back to stealing, dealing drugs even after the so called "Third Strike"..Rehab doesn't work on these guys. The excuse for light sentences is always, The Jails are Full...can't keep them locked up...

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