Parma, OH – Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Departrment (CCSD) Corrections Officer Timoteo “Tim” Cruz was fatally shot while working as a security guard at a bar early Saturday morning, according to police.
According to Parma police, the attack occurred at the Rookies Sports Bar and Grill on Pearl Road at approximately 2:15 a.m., The Plain Dealer reported.
Investigators said the gunmen, 30-year-old Luis Carlos Candelario and 27-year-old Juan Carlos Perez, opened fire on Corrections Officer Cruz and a patron, 29-year-old Sean Acierno, as they were walking through a parking lot outside the bar, according to the paper.
Corrections Officer Cruz, who was working as a bouncer at the bar at the time, returned fire after Acierno was shot, according to police.
The gunmen fired back, hitting him.
Parma police responded to the scene and found Acierno and Corrections Officer Cruz, 27, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, The Plain Dealer reported.
They were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators said Corrections Officer Cruz, a concealed carry permit holder, hit one of the gunmen during the shootout, The Plain Dealer reported.
The suspects, who are brothers, initially fled the scene but have since been apprehended.
They have both been charged with aggravated murder and are being held without bond, The Plain Dealer reported.
Parma Police Department (PPD) Captain Kevin Riley said investigators do not believe Candelario and Perez knew the victims and that they are still working to determine the motive for the fatal attack.
PPD Lieutenant Dan Ciryak said Corrections Officer Cruz’s “heroic actions” likely prevented further loss of life, according to The Plain Dealer.
“Due to Cruz’s heroic actions, he most likely saved additional lives while giving up his own life as other bar patrons were still in the area or exiting the bar,” Lt. Ciryak said.
“Our hearts are broken, and we are at a loss for words!” Rookies Sports Bar and Grill said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Tim touched so many lives, we are committed to ensure his Heroism is never forgotten. He was more than just a coworker. He was family and a good friend to us all.”
The establishment described Acierno as a “happy positive person” who was loved by many, and called his death a “tragedy.”
“We will continue to support and be there for all that need us at this time!” the post read. “Please continue to pray for their families and our staff that we can find guidance through this tragedy.”
Corrections Officer Cruz joined the CCSD in September of 2017, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Christopher Viland said in a statement to WJW.
“It was with great sadness this morning that the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department received word of the untimely death of one of our own,” Sheriff Viland said. “Corrections Officer Timoteo C. Cruz was the victim of a homicide in the City of Parma in the early morning hours.”
The sheriff noted that Corrections Officer Cruz “was killed while actively protecting the lives of innocent people.”
“There is no more honorable of a path than to have sacrificed in the service of others,” he said. “We would like to extend our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to his family and those who were close to him. No words can ease the loss to those remaining.”
A fundraising campaign established to help Corrections Officer Cruz’s family in the wake of his death has raised over $2,700 so far.
Condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office (Ohio) Corrections Officer Timoteo “Tim” Cruz was shot and killed early this morning while working a security detail. pic.twitter.com/zWKPApMyeq
— Ontario Critical Incident Stress Foundation (@ocisfhelps) March 15, 2021
— Romney Smith (@RomneySmith) March 14, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department Corrections Officer Timoteo “Tim” Cruz, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.