Three men accused of fatally shooting a beloved Mission Hill hardware store owner Tuesday afternoon were arraigned on Wednesday and held without bail pending a trial.
Andres Cruz, the 58-year-old owner of AC Hardware on Tremont Street, was shot around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, officials say, in an apparent botched robbery.
Police chased the suspects on foot and arrested 21-year-old Christian Soto-Olivero of Mattapan, 38-year-old Jerome D. Hobson of Dorchester and 26-year-old Shawn Redden of Brockton.
Hobson and Redden were arraigned in West Roxbury Municipal Court on Wednesday on one count each of murder, unlawful posession of a firearm and unlawful posession of ammunition.
On Wednesday, Soto-Olivero was recovering at Boston Medical Center from injuries sustained during the Tuesday afternoon incident. He was arraigned separately at the hospital on the same charges.
A witness told the court that they entered Cruz's store and found Cruz injured on the floor, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office. The witness then ran out of the store and, seeing a Boston Transportation Department worker, told the worker what happened and asked if she had seen three men leaving the area.
That worker then notified Boston police, as did another witness who saw the men leaving the scene, one of whom was bleeding.
Boston Police Department Commissioner William Evans described the incident as a “brutal, cowardly act.”
"This was brazen daytime shooting of a good, well-respected man doing the right thing,” Evans said in a statement. “Thanks to a quick response by my officers, we believe we have the three cowards responsible for this homicide in custody."
Cruz and his store were recently honored by Mayor Marty Walsh with a “2017 Mission Hill Main Streets Business of the Year” award. Walsh was on scene following the incident on Tuesday.
“Three cowards came to Mission Hill today and caused a lot of pain for a lot of people,” Walsh said outside the shop, according to WBZ.
Cruz was reportedly known to many in the Mission Hill community, with neighbors referring to him as a “Normal Rockwell” figure, the Boston Globe reports.
“It’s crazy what people do for a little bit of money,” an employee of a store a few blocks down from AC Hardware told the Globe. “We knew him for 10 years; he was a nice guy. When we needed something he would help us out, let us borrow whatever we needed.”