Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NY Daily News: Devastated Kin Let Go of Heroic Dad Shot in Shop by Dorian Block, Alison Gendar and Robert F. Moore...

Five of Bolivar Cruz's seven daughters - (from l.) Madelin, Nancy, Karina, Angelina and Jallissa - spoke yesterday outside Jamaica Hospital.

Cruz (with family members) 'did right by everyone,' said Karina.

A Queens family made the gut-wrenching decision to pull a father of eight off life support yesterday - two days after the bodega owner was shot in the face during a robbery.

"He didn't deserve this at all," Karina Cruz, one of Bolivar Cruz's seven daughters, cried outside Jamaica Hospital after her father died. "He did right by everyone." Bolivar Cruz, 53, was working at his South Ozone Park store about 9:30 p.m. Monday when three men - one wearing a bandanna on his face and two with stockings over their heads - burst in and demanded cash.

Cruz, who moved to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in the mid-1970s, tried to protect his daughters Jallissa, 16, and Angelina, 27, by pulling out an unlicensed .38-caliber handgun.

He didn't get off a shot.

"I see my father on the floor bleeding to death," Angelina Cruz recalled. "I heard one shot. That's it. I'm begging anyone who knows anything to come forward."

Police were sifting through several leads, but no arrests had been made as of late yesterday. One tip, a law enforcement source said, came from a chance meeting Tuesday afternoon between a teenage boy and a man he thought was a cop.

The teen said he knew the woman who drove the getaway car after Cruz was gunned down inside the Kennedy Mini Market, the source said.

Police have identified several suspects, including the potential getaway driver and shooter. The Daily News is not identifying them because neither has been arrested.

Authorities said the men who killed Cruz also had robbed 16 other Queens bodegas dating back to March 17, including one on the Van Wyck Expressway just 10 minutes before the shooting.

Another bodega on the Van Wyck, the Ozone Park Food Center at Linden Blvd., was held up at gunpoint by two young men last night, but cops said it was not part of the same pattern.

Bolivar Cruz, who has an adult son in the Dominican Republic, had been the focus of several recent family celebrations. His birthday was last week, and Father's Day plans were already in the works.

Cruz's loved ones said he had been looking forward to one day handing the store over to one of his four grandchildren.

But in the wake of his violent death, his daughters have vowed to shut the store down.

"After all we've seen?" said Madelin Cruz. "Right now, the store is our nightmare."