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The premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and announcements in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jun 21, 2022

Freehold Borough Man Charged with Manslaughter

A Freehold Borough man has been charged with Reckless Manslaughter as a result of a shooting that took place Sunday night in the same town, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Tuesday.

Efrain Cruz Jr., 45, was charged with second-degree Manslaughter after recklessly handling a firearm, which subsequently discharged, striking the adult male victim during a small gathering. 

At approximately 8:32 pm on Sunday, June 19, Freehold Borough Police Department officers were dispatched the 20 block of McDermott Street for a report of a gunshot victim. Upon arrival, the victim was discovered with a single gunshot wound; he was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.

The investigation remains active and ongoing at this time. 

Cruz Jr. is being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institute (MCCI) pending a detention hearing before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. Lemieux. 

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to please contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Brian Hammarstrom at 800-533-7443 or Freehold Borough Detective Samuel Hernandez at 732-462-1233. 

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano.

Cruz Jr. is represented by Tara Breslow, Esq., of Freehold. 

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.