Santa Cruz police search for a suspect near Downtown on Tuesday, March 30.
(Santa Cruz Police Department via Twitter)
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Police reveal new details about manhunt that shut down downtown Santa Cruz neighborhoods Tuesday

A 38-year-old man is in custody on a slew of charges after a manhunt in downtown Santa Cruz on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the county sheriff is investigating an unrelated homicide in Watsonville.

Police revealed new details Wednesday about the search for an armed suspect in downtown Santa Cruz that resulted in the closure of multiple streets and precautionary lockdowns at nearby schools Tuesday afternoon.

At about 1:23 p.m., police responded to a home on the 200 block of Felix Street for reports of a domestic disturbance with battery. Police say 38-year-old Jesse James Higdon threatened to kill a friend of the person who lived at the home and “brandished a semi-automatic handgun during the course of a physical altercation in which he pointed it at the victim.”

Jesse James Higdon, 38
(Santa Cruz Police Department )

Initially, police were not sure if Higdon was barricaded inside the home or if he’d run away. To be cautious, police say they ordered nearby residents to shelter in place, closed off streets and ordered lockdowns at school campuses in the vicinity.

Officers with the SCPD Emergency Services Unit responded to the scene with an armored vehicle and officials in protective gear searched cars and surrounded the Felix Street home.

“SCPD detectives discovered Higdon’s whereabouts were elsewhere, at which time efforts were diverted in an attempt to locate and apprehend Higdon,” police wrote in a release Wednesday.

About four hours after the initial call for help, police took Higdon into custody near the 100 block of Golf Club Drive. He is now charged with making criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and battery — all felonies. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail and remains there Wednesday afternoon on $300,000 bond.

Sheriff’s Office investigating Watsonville death as homicide

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case on the other side of the county, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office detectives have launched a homicide investigation into the death of a 55-year-old man in Watsonville on Tuesday night.

Deputies were called to the 100 block of Delaney Avenue for reports of a family disturbance just after 9:40 p.m. Detectives are still investigating details surrounding the motive and location of the suspect.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call detectives at (831) 454-7702.

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