OLNEY, MD (ABC7) — Montgomery County Police have implicated a former CASA employee — who is living in the United States illegally — for an assassination-style shooting that left a man badly injured.
Darwin Reinaldy Cruz-Rosa, 20, of the 8100 block of 15th Avenue in Hyattsville, is charged with attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and reckless endangerment, among other criminal charges.
Around 5:15 p.m. Monday, Cruz-Rosa and an unknown accomplice allegedly opened fire along the 3400 block of Bantry Way in Olney.
Paramedics transported one male victim to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda with a “through and through” gunshot wound that entered the victim’s lower neck and exited out his back.
The victim told a detective he had just left Five Guys and was returning to a townhome along Bantry Way. As he walked through the residential community’s parking lot, a Hispanic male wearing all black clothing and a ski mask exited a white, four-door Acura car with tinted windows, and stated, “Hey.”
The victim turned around and saw one of the male suspects pointing a black, Glock-type handgun at him. The suspect fired multiple rounds at close range, hitting the victim once in the neck. Quite remarkably, the victim managed to run down the sidewalk and enter the townhome he’d originally been walking to.
The victim swiftly closed and locked the front door at which point bullets started to pierce through the door and kitchen window. The victim then watched the front and rear door handles begin to wiggle, presumably from the two suspects trying to get in.
An anonymous witness would later tell investigators that they saw the two young, Hispanic males speed away in the white Acura. The witness reported hearing one of the suspects shout, “Move! Move!”
Montgomery County’s 911 Center broadcasted an urgent “lookout” for the suspect vehicle as responding officers saturated the area. A sergeant happened to spot the white Acura traveling southbound on Georgia Avenue at Rossmoor Boulevard, about four miles from the shooting scene in Olney.
The sergeant managed to stop the vehicle at the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Aspen Hill Road. Cruz-Rosa was behind the wheel of the Acura, which was also registered in his name. Officers located one black ski mask in Cruz-Rosa’s jacket pocket, and another within the vehicle.
According to authorities, Cruz-Rosa made several “inconsistent statements” about where he was coming from and where he was headed to.
“Cruz-Rosa stated he was dropping off a girl and then declined further statements,” police wrote in court documents obtained by ABC7.
After one witness positively identified Cruz-Rosa as the shooter, police arrested and booked the 20-year-old at the county lockup.
During processing, Cruz-Rosa told authorities he had most recently worked as an “election canvasser” for CASA de Maryland, a job he reported to have held for four months. The publicly-funded agency — which provides advocacy and assistance for both legal and illegal immigrants — has confirmed if did indeed employ Cruz-Rosa, but only “very briefly.”
This is the second time in four months that an alleged criminal living in the country illegally was found to have ties to CASA. In January, a known MS-13 associate was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old human trafficking victim and filming the encounter. Felix Silva-Zuniga, 52, of Wheaton, went on to use that video to blackmail the teen into more sexual meetups, prosecutors would reveal in court.
When Montgomery County Police arrested Silva-Zuniga outside the Home Depot in Aspen Hill, he presented cops with his CASA de Maryland membership photo I.D. card. CASA later confirmed that Felix-Zuniga used its interpreter services in April 2011, during consultation for an undisclosed medical condition. CASA explained Silva-Zuniga had not renewed his membership as of October 2015.
In Fiscal Year 2019, Montgomery County provided CASA with $608,830 in taxpayer-funded community grants.