Jael Romero, who has been charged with fatally shooting three people at a Grove Hall house party in June, is expected to appear in court in February for a pretrial conference, according to court records.
Romero, 23, is accused of shooting Ana Cruz, 22; Felix Garcia, 22; and Brian Tirado, 23, during an altercation at a party at 153 Intervale St. at about 4:20 a.m. June 22, 2013, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said in a statement.
All three victims lived in Dorchester, police said at the time of the incident.
According to prosecutors, a friend of Romero got in an argument with a group of four or five people, including Garcia and Tirado.
At some point during the altercation, Romero’s friend was stabbed. Following the attack, Romero allegedly fired into the crowded party, hitting and killing Garcia, Tirado and Cruz, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said.
Romero was arrested in August 2012 for possessing a semiautomatic handgun that police allegedly found in his car, Conley’s office said. He was free on $10,000 bail for that charge at the time of the Intervale Street shooting. Prosecutors said they requested he be held for twice as much money.
The 2012 gun case was still pending in June 2013 in part because Romero’s defense team was appealing a ruling that allowed the gun to be admissible as evidence, Conley’s office said.
He was arrested again in Providence, R.I., less than two weeks after the Grove Hall homicides for gun and auto-theft charges, Conley’s office said. Romero was accused of stealing a vehicle from Seekonk, Mass., and was charged for the crime in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
He was also on probation for a previous assault and battery charge, Conley’s office said.
Romero was indicted Nov. 26 on second-degree murder and weapons charges for the Intervale Street shooting while in custody for his previous arrests, records show.
In the state’s official complaint against Romero, prosecutors allege that Romero confessed to the crime following his July 2 arrest.
“In July and August, 2013, the defendant made admissions about shooting two men and one woman, bragging that he had gotten away with shooting three individuals at a house party in Boston,” the document says.
Romero was arraigned and held without bail in Suffolk Superior Court Dec. 24, according to court records. Romero pleaded innocent.
A Boston Globe profile on the victims following the shooting reported that Cruz, a Puerto Rican immigrant left behind twin 3-year-old daughters, and that Garcia had recently earned his GED and was applying to Bunker Hill Community College.
Below are press releases from the Boston Police Department and Suffolk County district attorney’s office relating to this case:
From BPDNews.com, June 24, 2013:
At about 4:18 AM, Saturday, June 22, 2013, officers from district B-2 (Roxbury) responded to a radio call for a Persons Shot at a house party in the area of 153 Intervale Street, Roxbury
On arrival, officers located three victims inside the above location suffering from apparent gun shot wounds. One male victim, in his early twenties was transported to Beth Israel Hospital, and other male and female victims, also in their early twenties were transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. All three victims were later pronounced deceased. The victims have been identified as: Brian Tirado, 23 of Dorchester, Ana Cruz, 22 of Dorchester and Felix Garcia, 22 of Dorchester.
Police are looking for a maroon or red, older looking Mercury motor vehicle in connection with this incident.
Homicide detectives are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information is encouraged to call detectives at (617) 343-4470.
Community members wishing to assist this investigation anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1(800) 494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463). The Boston Police Department will stringently guard and protect the identities of those who wish to help this investigation anonymously.
From the Suffolk County district attorney’s office Nov. 26, 2013:
BOSTON, Nov. 26, 2013—Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley and Acting Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans today identified the alleged gunman in the shooting that left Ana Cruz, Felix Garcia, and Brian Tirado dead at a house party in Roxbury this summer.
The Suffolk County Grand Jury late Friday returned indictments charging JAEL ROMERO (D.O.B. 5/30/90) with three counts of second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm for the June 22 incident at 153 Intervale St. Romero is currently held on open, unrelated charges in Bristol County and a warrant has been lodged to hold him in the event that he posts bail in that case.
Evidence developed during the past five months by Boston Police homicide detectives on the street and Suffolk homicide prosecutors behind the closed doors of the grand jury suggests that Romero and the three victims were among those present at an after-hours party when an altercation erupted among Garcia, Tirado, and a friend of Romero. Romero allegedly drew a handgun and fired multiple rounds, striking Garcia, Tirado, and Cruz, who was not part of the altercation.
Garcia, 22, died of his injuries at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Cruz, 22, and Tirado, 23, died of their injuries at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“This defendant was arrested with the help of the community and the relentless detectives who pursued every lead,” Commissioner Evans said, “Getting guns and violent offenders off Boston’s streets is the Department’s number one priority. This arrest sends a clear message to anyone who seeks to commit violent acts in our neighborhoods – we will find you and bring you to justice.”
“This was a careful, methodical investigation that never lost steam,” DA Conley said. “I hope the community feels some satisfaction knowing that there will be accountability for this terrible crime, and I hope the victims’ families take some comfort knowing that we never lost sight of their loved ones as we pursued this result.”
Romero was already facing a gun charge at the time of the homicides. He was arrested on Aug. 27, 2012, for unlawful possession of a firearm after Boston Police recovered a Cobra FS380 semiautomatic handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition from his car. He was held on $20,000 cash bail at his arraignment later the same day in Dorchester District Court. Over prosecutors’ objections, that bail was later lowered to $10,000, which he was able to post. Prosecutors successfully argued against Romero’s efforts to have that gun suppressed from evidence, but Romero appealed and the case is still pending.
Romero was arrested again on July 2 of this year following a chase that began in Seekonk and ended in Rhode Island. He has posted bail for offenses allegedly committed in Rhode Island and is currently held on high bail on gun and stolen vehicle charges in Bristol County. His bail on the open 2012 gun case has been revoked.
Romero is expected to be arraigned on the murder charges early next month in Suffolk Superior Court. An arraignment date has not been scheduled.
From the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, Dec. 24, 2013:
BOSTON, Dec. 24, 2013—The alleged gunman in a June homicides of Ana Cruz, Felix Garcia, and Brian Tirado was ordered held without bail at his arraignment today, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
JAEL ROMERO (D.O.B. 5/30/90), who has claimed residences in Chelsea and Roxbury, was indicted Nov. 22 on three counts of second-degree murder and firearms offenses for the June 22 shootings at an Intervale Street house party. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Gretchen Lundgren, Suffolk Superior Court Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson ordered Romero held without bail pending trial, currently scheduled for December 2014.
Lundgren told the court that “dozens” of people were present at the scene when a fight between two groups of men broke out at about 4:20 a.m. Romero and a friend were among one group; Garcia, 22, and Tirado, 23, were among the other.
“The fight escalated when the defendant’s friend was stabbed,” Lundgren said. “The defendant fired five shots into the crowd.”
Garcia and Tirado were mortally wounded, Lundgren said, as was Cruz, who at 22 was completely uninvolved in the altercation. All three were transported to area hospitals and all three died of their injuries.
In the aftermath of the shootings, Lundgren said, Romero and his friend fled the scene. He was later identified as being present, however, and allegedly made admissions about shooting two men and a woman, “bragging that he had gotten away with shooting three individuals at a house party in Boston.”
In early July, Romero allegedly stole a car in Seekonk and ended up in Providence, Rhode Island. He has been charged in both jurisdictions and faces gun and stolen vehicle charges. Moreover, he was on probation following an assault and battery conviction at the time of the shooting and was also free on another pending firearms charge – a charge for which prosecutors had argued unsuccessfully for higher bail.
“He clearly has access to weapons and is a danger to the community,” Lundgren said.
Romero was represented by attorney Jack Cunha. He will return to court on Feb. 6.