GONZALES — Gonzales Police Department has arrested the man responsible for killing two lambs and injuring other livestock being kept on Gonzales High School grounds.
Video surveillance footage led investigators to identify the suspect as 31-year-old Jose Jesse Marquez of Gonzales.
On Feb. 23, officers contacted Marquez riding his bicycle in the 600 block of Rincon Road. Marquez, who was wanted for an outstanding warrant on an unrelated charge, was taken into custody after a short struggle, police said.
“When contacted by law enforcement, (Marquez) refused to comply with officers’ orders and threatened to commit violence towards the officer booking him,” according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office in a news release Feb. 28.
While being held at the police department for questioning, Marquez confessed to entering the school grounds on his bicycle last Saturday around 2:30 a.m., intending to steal an unknown tool. He told investigators that he “felt angry,” and then bludgeoned four animals before leaving the campus.
“While there, he became upset at his mother,” stated the DA’s Office. “He approached the barn area and stabbed multiple animals belonging to the students.”
Marquez was transported to the Monterey County Jail on multiple charges, and is currently being held without bail.
According to police, high school students in the local 4-H Club found their farm animals suffering from injuries at about 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 18.
Two lambs died from being stabbed in the head and face, while a third lamb was severely injured and taken to a local veterinarian hospital for treatment. A pig was also hurt but survived the attack.
Community members have stepped in to help the youth find replacement animals.
Marquez was arraigned Feb. 27 on four counts of animal abuse with an allegation that the crime involved a deadly or dangerous weapon, resisting a police officer and burglary, all of which are considered felonies. He was also charged with an enhancement for a prior strike conviction and numerous factors in aggravation.
Marquez, who has a 2018 domestic violence related strike conviction, faces up to 19 years and 8 months in prison for the offenses.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” the DA’s Office said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Gonzales Police Department at 831-675-5010.
This story was updated Feb. 28 with additional information.