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No Bail For 3 Charged In Slaying Of Mission Hill Hardware Store Owner

WEST ROXBURY (CBS) -- Two of the men accused of shooting and killing the owner of a Mission Hill hardware store Tuesday afternoon were arraigned in West Roxbury District Court Wednesday.

Jerome Hobson, 38, of Dorchester and Shawn Redden, 26, of Brockton were held without bail on first-degree murder and firearms charges. They hid behind a door as they faced the judge.

Christian Soto-Olivero, 21 of Mattapan, is recovering at Boston Medical Center and was arraigned later Wednesday on the same charges in his hospital bed. He was also held without bail.

Shawn Redden; Jerome Hobson; Christian Soto-Olivero. (Christina Hager/WBZ-TV)

Police say the three men shot and killed 58-year-old Andres Cruz, the owner of AC Hardware on Tremont Street, just after 4 p.m. Tuesday in a botched robbery.

There was a struggle between Cruz and the three men, and shots were fired.

Andres Cruz
Andres Cruz. (Photo by Mission Hill Gazette/Richard Rouse)

According to prosecutors, four shell casings, a bullet fragment, and a large knife were found at the scene, and the three men left a trail of blood coming from the store.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's office said Soto-Olivero suffered a severe laceration during the struggle with Cruz.

Just a few weeks ago, Mayor Marty Walsh honored Cruz and his store as Business of the Year in Mission Hill.

""Everybody brought gifts to him, and appreciated what he had done, and he was so happy and proud," said a neighborhood man.

Andres Cruz
Banner honoring Andres Cruz for Business of the Year (WBZ-TV)

Friends and neighbors told WBZ-TV's Anna Meiler outside court that a neighboring business owner rushed over to Cruz's store to try to revive him--and was able to give police a description of the suspects' vehicle.

Prosecutors said a city parking clerk and another witness helped track them down.

"These witnesses provided Boston Police with information that proved to be critical in locating the suspects' vehicle," Suffolk DA Dan Conley said. "There's no question that their tips helped solve a homicide and will help a grief-stricken family find justice."

Officers responding to the shooting spotted Hobson, Redden, and Soto-Olivero in that vehicle on Cedar Street. They ran from the car, and all three were arrested after a brief foot chase.

"Three cowards came to Mission Hill today and caused a lot of pain for a lot of people," said Mayor Marty Walsh, who had recently visited Cruz on a trolley tour of the neighborhood.

Cruz's wife Rosie was on vacation in Puerto Rico when she was told of her husband's murder, a nephew told the Boston Globe.  Rosie Cruz was working in a store in Upham's Corner in 2010 when her uncle, Geraldo Serrano, was killed in a robbery there.

Geraldo Serrano murder
The Upham's Corner store where Rosie Cruz's uncle was killed in 2010. (WBZ-TV)

Now, members of the close-knit community in Mission Hill want to see justice served.

"He was a loved man, a lot of people loved him, " Cruz's son, Andres Cruz, Jr., told reporters outside court.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans called the murder a "brutal, cowardly act."

"I wouldn't mind seeing the person's face, I can't believe that someone so callous is on this planet," said Dermot Doyne, owner of nearby restaurant and bar Penguin Pizza. "I think it's sad because, you know, it's things you read about or see about, but you don't see it on Mission Hill."

Neighbors described Cruz as a "salt of the earth" guy, and said he would have done anything for anyone.

"He would give you his last dime," said one woman.

A memorial grew outside the shop as the neighborhood mourned the loss of the father and grandfather.

"He's going to be sorely missed, because he was a good guy," said another woman who lives in the area. "And it was senseless...a senseless act."

"It's incredible that people would do that, they'd come into a place like this, with a person that, who given his whole life to his business. They would do it cold blood, murderer," said a neighborhood man.

Hobson, Redden, and Soto-Olivero are due back in court September 13 for a probable cause hearing.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports

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