Sheriff’s office identifies stabbing suspect


A teenage stabbing suspect fatally shot by a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy north of Watsonville early Saturday morning has been identified as 15-year-old Luke Smith, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies who responded to a reported stabbing in the 800 block of Amesti Road just before 3 a.m. Saturday found two victims who were quickly taken to a hospital, undersheriff Jeremy Verinsky said.

One of the victim suffered critical injuries and the other was left with serious injuries, according to Verinsky.

Deputies were able to locate Smith armed with a knife near the scene about 10 minutes later with help from police officers, Verinsky said.

They worked to de-escalate the situation and used less-lethal weapons on the suspect, who then approached the deputies with a knife, according to Verinsky.

Smith was shot at least once by a deputy and received aid from paramedics who pronounced him dead at the scene, Verinsky said.

Investigators plan to play video footage that captured the incident from a deputy’s body-worn camera during a news conference at sheriff’s headquarters this afternoon.

A GoFundMe page for a memorial fund benefiting Smith’s family has raised $3,965 of its $15,000 goal as of this morning. Donations can be made online at


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