General — 13 June 2014 — by Albert J. Ciego
Father of 4 shot on Vernon Street

The Mayflower Street resident is in a critical condition

Rafael Cruz, 30, a father of four children of a Mayflower Street address, who lives in the area known as Ghost Town, is in a critical condition at the intensive care unit at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital after he was shot five times.

One of two gunmen fired about eleven shots at Cruz while he was walking his bicycle, along with two schoolgirls, to a nearby store to buy dog food at the corner of Vernon Street and the Central American Boulevard at about 8:00 this morning, in front of Mendoza Auto Parts Store.

Cruz, the father of four children and a construction worker of Banak Street, was shot in the right side of the abdomen, the right side of the chest, the left side of the abdomen and the left shoulder.

According to police, Cruz was shot from behind by two men of dark-complexion who were riding on a motorcycle.

Witnesses said that two men on a motorcycle were seen circling in the area of Mayflower Street. They rode up Mayflower Street and made a right turn into Vernon Street at the same time Rafael Cruz came down Mayflower and made a left turn into Vernon Street.

The motorcycle stopped and the men came off, approached Cruz and shot him multiple times.

Cruz fell onto the pavement and the gunmen drove down Vernon Street onto the Central American Boulevard and disappeared. Luckily, the little girls were not hit.

According to Cruz’s family, doctors have given him a 50 percent chance of survival. He has been attached to a life support unit, and doctors have removed one of his kidneys and repaired the damage to his intestines. More operations will be performed to repair internal injuries, including an injury to his liver.

In an interview on KREM Radio, the family said that when they heard the multiple gunshots, his mother shouted that she hoped it wasn’t her son who had been shot.

They rushed to the area of the auto store, and saw Cruz lying on the street. He was not dead, and his eyes were open, they related. His father said people heard him begging the gunman who shot him not shoot to him anymore, but the gunman continued to shoot.

His sister said that he left home riding his bicycle, but began walking his bike beside two little girls who were going to school. They were very surprised that the two little girls were not shot, also.

Cruz’s angry father, Norman Milton, said that his son, Rafael, is not a gang member or a troublemaker, and is presently employed on a street project.

Milton has asserted that the gunmen just wanted to shoot someone, anyone, in the Ghost Town area, and it did not matter who was shot.

Many people believe that the escalating gun violence is due to gang warfare which is being carried out between the George Street gang and Ghost Town gang. The feud began with a shooting that occurred on Sunday morning in the area of the Princess Casino on Newtown Barrack Road, in which a 16-year-old girl who was along with two George Street gang members was shot.

However, Roger Anthony, the reputed head of the Ghost Town gang, told Amandala that his group is not waging war with anyone, and that there will be no retaliation from them for the shooting.

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