H-SANTA MARIA

Feb 14, 2013 7:36 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Manhunt still on for armed gang member

"Somebody who runs from the police, that potentially has a weapon, it's very serious situation," said Santa Maria police officer Lieutenant Kim Graham.

Santa Maria police are still trying to find an armed gang member after a search unfolded last night.

Tonight police are still searching for 28-year-old Ricardo Cruz.

Wednesday's search prompted police to shut down several blocks of a busy Santa Maria neighborhood.

The manhunt began with a domestic disturbance call from a person living in the neighborhood around three yesterday.

The neighbor told police an armed man tried to enter his home.

But after a massive search, police could not locate Cruz.

Onlookers watched as police searched homes, dumpsters and vehicles for an armed gunman Wednesday afternoon.

Not even the ice cream man could get through without a quick search.

"Ricardo Cruz is a documented gang member who is in violation of his probation," said Lt. Graham.

Cruz is being hunted by authorities stemming from federal drug distribution charges.

Making the situation even more volatile, after being spotted by officers of the gang task force, Cruz fled into a family filled neighborhood.

"That just adds another element," said Lt. Graham, "We're looking for one person, and we have to sift through in the case yesterday probably several tens if not hundreds of people also in the area."

Instead of playing games, kids were watching officers armed with m16s peering down alley ways, as a CHP chopper circled overhead, calling for Cruz to come out.

But after searching known associate's homes, police came up empty handed.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to get him into custody," said Lt. Graham, "Determine if he had a weapon, and if he did, get custody of that weapon, and take him into custody as well."

Police are looking for 28-year old Ricardo Cruz.
He has tattoos covering his body and head.
Anyone with information of his whereabouts is encouraged to call the Santa Maria Police Department.

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