Prosecutors: Video shows shooting death of Chambersburg murder victim

Emmanuel Cruz

Emmanuel Cruz

Recently arrested murder suspect Emmanuel Cruz killed Emilio Lopez in cold blood during a 2012 city robbery and the whole shebang was recorded on surveillance footage, authorities alleged.

Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Michelle Gasparian at a bail hearing Tuesday said the state has identified three cooperating witnesses who have all fingered 29-year-old Cruz as the alleged gunman who had shot and killed Lopez four years ago in Trenton.

Lopez, 34, was slain Nov. 16, 2012, in the 100 block of Kent Street in the city’s Chambersburg neighborhood.

Gasparian said four individuals, including Cruz, were “looking to rob individuals on the street” on the night of the murder. She said the entire incident was caught on video of Lopez walking down the street before being surrounded by the suspects and shot and killed.

The surveillance video corroborates the cooperating witness accounts, Gasparian said.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Cruz on Dec. 19 in Falls Township, Pa. He has been charged with murder, robbery and related weapons offenses in connection with Lopez’s death.

Three other men, whom are all cousins, were previously arrested in connection with Lopez’s death within a week of the murder. Those three defendants have been identified as Roberto Cruz, Jose Rivera and Kenneth Rivera; they remain in jail awaiting trial on murder charges. Emmanuel Cruz is Roberto Cruz’s brother.

Considering the evidence in the case and the fact that Cruz has previously served 18 months behind bars on a 2012 felony conviction, Gasparian successfully argued for Judge Thomas M. Brown to maintain Cruz’s bail at $1 million cash or bond Tuesday.

Cruz’s public defender Aletha Sheppard unsuccessfully argued for the bail to be reduced to $250,000. She called the million-dollar bail “extremely excessive” and said Cruz “has substantial ties to the community,” adding Cruz has a fiancée and a 9-year-old daughter.

Brown said he was keeping Cruz’s bail at $1 million cash or bond due to the strength of the case.

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