Hill business owner shot, killed

Mission Hill business owner Andres Cruz was shot and killed during an apparent robbery at his AC Hardware store on Tremont Street on July 18.

Funeral services for Cruz were held July 24 at Mission Church.

Three suspects were arrested shortly after the shooting.

His death shocked the neighborhood, with many community members describing Cruz as a well-respected business owner who often went the extra mile for his customers. Cruz, who was 58 years old and was called “Cholo” by locals, recently received an award from Mission Hill Main Streets for “business of the year.”

“I have known him since ‘90s,” said Michel Soltani, co-owner of Mission Bar and Grill and board president of MHMS. “He was a good guy and very helpful and a true family man. He was especially very helpful to seniors and money was not everything to him. He was a resource to come up with advice for any home improvement.”

Local state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, who grew up on Mission Hill, said the community is “devastated” by his death and that “Cholo was everybody’s friend,” describing him as a corner hardware store owner out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

“He was the easiest guy to talk to. A big-hearted, good man,” said Sanchez.

The representative said he has known Cruz and his family for his whole life. Sanchez said his father and uncle used to own a record store in Uphams Corner where Cruz family owned a bodega, and that Cruz comes for a large extended family that is an institution in Boston.

“All he did was good,” Sanchez said of Cruz. “He was active in the community. He gave, participated. He was ours.”

Sanchez want on to say he does not remember a crime like this happening in the neighborhood.

“I don’t want to sugarcoat it: the ‘70s and ‘80s were bad, but this was just so brazen,” he said.

Richard Rouse, executive director of MHMS, said that Cruz was a “fun guy, easy guy to like” with a “friendly, great attitude.” He said that Cruz has two children and four grandchildren, and that his wife Rosa was on vacation in Puerto Rico when it happened.

“It’s just a tragedy,” said Rouse.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, on July 18 a witness observed that Cruz’ store was closed in the middle of the afternoon and then observed three men leaving. She had a family member check out the store, finding the situation odd. He found Cruz badly injured on the floor and ran outside, encountering a Boston Transportation Department worker and told her what happened. The BTD worker and another witness who saw the three men fleeing the area, one of whom appeared to be bleeding badly, called the police.

Officers from the Boston Police Department soon located a vehicle matching the description of one leaving the scene of the shooting, and after a brief chase, arrested three suspects: 21-year-old Christian Soto-Olivero of Mattapan, 38-year-old Jerome D. Hobson of Dorchester, and 26-year-old Shawn Redden of Brockton.

The three were arraigned on July 19 on one count each of murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition. Hobson and Redden were both arraigned at the West Roxbury District Court, while Soto-Olivera was arraigned separately at Boston Medical Center, where he was being treated for serious laceration injuries apparently sustained during the robbery, according to the DA’s Office.

All three suspects were held without bail and are expected to return to court on Sept. 13. Hobson, Soto-Olivero, and Redden were represented by attorneys Robert Griffin, John Galvin, and Michael Bourbeau, respectively.

Griffin said he has no comment on the case, while Galvin and Bourbeau did not respond to requests for comment.

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