Authorities identify Rusling Street Homicide victim

An 18-year-old city man walking home in the heart of the city’s Chambersburg section was the victim of an apparent robbery gone wrong, authorities said.

Julio Lopez-Cruz

Julio Lopez-Cruz was the victim of a Saturday night robbery gone awry, authorities said on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of friends)

The victim, identified by the authorities as 18-year-old Julio Lopez-Cruz (according to birth records obtained by The Trentonian he is ID’d as Julio Cesar Cruz)  was returning home from a shopping trip with groceries in hand,  around 6:45 p.m. on Saturday night, when two assailants descended upon him and began their robbery attempt.

The incident occurred in the first block of Rusling Street.  According to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office, Cruz was able to bang on the door and call for help. At that point another resident of the home looked outside through a window to see the assailants throw Cruz to the ground.

Cruz had recently moved to the city from Guatemala and had been in the city for 45 days  according to friends with whom he had been staying.

The throw would be the cause of what the prosecutor’s office said was a fatal head injury. When other people inside of the home came out to aid Cruz, the assailants fled in different directions. The prosecutor’s office said that the suspects were only described as two black males.

Cruz was pronounced dead at St. Francis Medical Center, though the prosecutor’s office did not provide an exact time of death. Sources said the 18-year-old died as a result of his injuries around 9 p.m.

The Mercer County Homicide Task Force is investigating , the prosecutor’s office said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Mercer County Homicide Task Force (609) 989-6406, or use the Trenton police confidential tip line at (609) 989-3663. Tipsters may also call the Trenton Crime Stoppers tipline at (609) 278-8477. Those wishing to text a tip regarding the killing or any of the other crimes can send a message labeled TCSTIPS to Trenton Crime Stoppers at 274637.

Trentonian reporter Carlos Avila contributed to this report.

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