A fast-food worker obsessed with ghost guns opened fire with one of the untraceable weapons in a Bronx store early Tuesday, police, and sources said.
Law enforcement sources said, thanks to cops poring over surveillance footage in the area, Edison Cruz, 25, was nabbed at the eatery where he works on Jerome Avenue. He has been accused of repeatedly ordering online parts for the makeshift weapons and having them mailed to his elderly parents’ home.
According to police and sources, around 12:50 a.m., Cruz had chased his 31-year-old target into a bodega in Mount Hope and opened fire.
During the first hours of deploying additional NYPD night patrols throughout the city, the shooting on East Burnside Avenue near Grand Concourse occurred. The extra roaming groups of officers were not in the shop’s neighborhood overnight, a high-ranking police source said.
“Those commands rotate based on events,” the source said Tuesday.
Authorities and sources said the victim had a lengthy criminal history; his identity has not released due to family notification. He was shot in the back of the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to police, a man and woman, 34, were inside the store. They were hit in the attack and were not believed to be the intended targets, according to police.
Cops said the man was struck in the left arm and the woman in the torso. According to police, both were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where the woman was listed as critical, and the man remained in stable condition.
Authorities have arrested Cruz and charged him with murder in the second degree, manslaughter, and criminal possession of a weapon, cops said.
The motive for the attack is still unclear.
Law-enforcement sources said Cruz has been under watch by police for possession of ghost guns and other weapons, including a grenade launcher, dating back to 2020.
The Bronx District Attorney’s Office said Cruz had been arrested three times. However, he was set free the first two times because the charges were not bail eligible under New York State’s controversial bail laws. On his third arrest, bail was initially set at $15,000. Still, after an application by his attorney, he was released in July under the supervision of the alternative justice group Bronx Connect.
“This is the poster child for [the dangerousness of] ghost guns,” a source told The Post.
Authorities said, in June 2020, Cruz was arrested when he was spotted walking through the Bronx with a bulletproof vest and a grenade launcher strapped to his back. Eventually, cops recovered an operable shotgun, two “ghost” Polymer 80 handgun receivers, manufacturing tools, and Glock parts from his family’s home, where he was living, according to officials and law-enforcement sources.
According to the complaint against him, Cruz allegedly hit his mother in the face with a plastic takeout container of pasta during a dispute about two months later. According to her account in the complaint, Cruz said to his mother, “You’re not gonna grow to be old.”
“I’m going to kill you, and then I’m going to kill myself.”
Responding officers found a loaded ghost gun, multiple gun parts, and another ballistic vest in the home. Cruz told responding officers he used the guns “for educational purposes,” the complaint said. He had a hatchet as well.
Sources said the second arrest triggered a special investigation into Cruz that found he continued to order shipments of gun parts in the spring of 2021.
A completed ghost handgun, four P80 handgun receivers, an AR-15 lower receiver, an upper receiver, another bulletproof vest, and multiple other handgun parts and magazines were discovered by a search warrant on May 11, 2021.
A criminal complaint said his parents had obtained protection orders against him earlier that month, which prohibited Cruz from possessing any firearms.
“These are my toys,” Cruz allegedly told cops in an interview related to that arrest, according to the complaint. “It’s a hobby of mine. Those parts are to make firearms. That’s a loaded firearm. I don’t sell guns. I’ve sold parts in the past, but never a completed gun.”
On July 9, 2021, Cruz was released into Bronx Conect’s care, although the Bronx DA requested $15,000 after that case. On May 19, he is due back in court on those charges.
“If you are carrying or possessing illegal weapons and get arrested, and they let you out, and then you’re arrested again with more illegal weapons, and they let you out, the logical question is, what does it take to get someone with a gun held in jail when they keep showing us how dangerous they are?” a law enforcement source told The Post.
“Does it take them having to commit a murder? At least in this case, it appears so. That’s a problem now.”