Known car thieves arrested in connection with homicide of 26-year-old man in Waterbury

Crime

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — One man is dead and four people have been arrested after a drive-by shooting in Waterbury Thursday.

An investigation into this incident by the Waterbury Police Department revealed a timeline of the events that began on May 14.

At 10:01 p.m. Thursday, police responded to multiple complaints of gunshots in the area of Willow Street and Woodlawn Terrace.

According to Chief Fernando Spagnolo of WPD, responding officers were unable to locate any victims with gunshot injuries at the initial location, however, they were told by witnesses that two victims who had sustained gunshot injuries had been transported to area hospitals in private vehicles.

The two victims arrived at separate hospitals: a 23-year-old female with a gunshot injury to the leg had been brought to Waterbury Hospital; a 26-year-old male with a gunshot injury to the torso had arrived at Saint Mary’s Hospital.

Officers located the vehicle that transported the male victim to the emergency room of St. Mary’s with three people inside, who were detained as the male victim was brought into the hospital for treatment.

The male victim, identified later as Isaiah Colon of Waterbury, was pronounced dead at approximately 10:25 p.m. Thursday. The 23-year-old female victim was released with non-life threatening injuries from the hospital.

Waterbury officials from the Major Crimes, VICE squad, Street Crimes Unit, Auto Theft Task Force, and the Crime Scene Unit of the Forensic Division provided assistance in the investigation.

Officials investigating the scene of the shooting concluded that gunfire came from a dark-colored SUV directed at a crowd of people standing in the area of Woodlawn Terrace and Willow Street. Thereafter, the SUV left the scene at a high rate of speed, and officials initiated a city-wide search for the vehicle.

On May 15 at approximately 1:40 a.m., the black SUV was seen traveling on Hamilton Avenue toward Pearl Lake Road, and VICE Unit officers suspected the was vehicle connected to the shooting. Officers determined the vehicle was reported as stolen from Groton and proceeded to conduct a motor vehicle stop to no avail. The driver led officers on a pursuit.

At one point in the pursuit, the vehicle collided head-on with an additional police vehicle carrying detectives responding to assist on the pursuit, which left the suspect vehicle and police cruiser immobilized.

Officers found three people in the vehicle: Jan Santiago, 19, of Waterbury; Byron E. Cruz, 18, of Waterbury, and a 17-year-old juvenile, all of whom were taken into custody.

WPD say three of those arrested were known car thieves in the area.

I think it’s really important for the public to know that…the three parties that were in that car, (Cruz, the juvenile, and Santiago), are prolific car thieves known to the Waterbury Police Department and many other urban police departments throughout this state.

Some of those parties who were involved have been arrested six times or more for larceny of a motor vehicle over the course of the last 18 months.

– Chief Fernando Spagnolo of Waterbury PD

Further investigation revealed that Evel Pacheco, 18, of Waterbury was the fourth occupant in the vehicle and the shooter during the drive-by incident May 14.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Colon’s manner of death as homicide.

Pacheco was taken into custody on May 15 at approximately 4:30 p.m. by detectives who had surveilled him as he rode as a passenger in a separate vehicle. Two handguns were recovered by police from this car. The other occupants in the vehicle, driver Harry Issac, 30, of Waterbury, and Camille Cruz, 39, of Waterbury, were also arrested as a result of this traffic stop.

Jan Santiago (top-left), Evel Pacheco (top-middle), Harry Isaac (top-right), Camille Cruz (bottom-left), and Byron Cruz (bottom-right). Photos: Waterbury Police Department

Jan Santiago was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy at Murder
  • Conspiracy at Assault 1st
  • Weapons in Motor Vehicle
  • Larceny 1st degree
  • Assault on Police Office (4 cts)
  • Criminal Trover 2nd
  • Interfering with Police Officers
  • Reckless Driving
  • Operating a Vehicle without a License
  • Engaging Police in Pursuit

Santiago was held on a $1,500,000 bond pending arraignment in court/GA 4.

Byron Cruz was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy at Murder
  • Conspiracy at Assault 1st
  • Weapons in Motor Vehicle
  • Larceny 1st
  • Interfering with Police Officers

Cruz was held on a $1,500,000 bond pending arraignment in court/GA 4

The juvenile was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy at Murder
  • Conspiracy at Assault 1st
  • Weapons in Motor Vehicle
  • Larceny 1st
  • Interfering with Police Officers

The juvenile was released to Juvenile Detention pending arraignment in court.

Evel Pacheco was arrested and charged with:

  • Murder
  • Assault 1st
  • Conspiracy at Murder
  • Conspiracy at Assault 1st
  • Illegal Transfer or Sale of Firearm
  • Carrying a Pistol without a Permit
  • Possession of Large Capacity Magazine
  • Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm
  • Reckless Endangerment 1st
  • Weapons in Motor Vehicle
  • Criminal Use of Firearm
  • Possession Marijuana

Pacheco was held on a $1,500,000 bond pending arraignment in court/ GA 4.

Isaac was arrested and charged with:

  • Weapons in a Motor Vehicle

Isaac was held on a $150,000 pending arraignment in court/GA 4.

Camille Cruz was arrested and charged with:

  • Weapons in Motor Vehicle
  • Possession of Pistol without a Permit
  • Possession of High Capacity Magazine (2 CTS)

Cruz was held on a $500,000 bond pending arraignment in court/ GA 4.

Police are continuing to investigate this incident and are asking for anyone with information on this homicide to contact the Waterbury Police Detectives at 203-574-6941 or Crime Stoppers at 203-755-1234.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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