After removing his shirt and using it to cover a security camera, a bouncer at a New York sports bar brutally beat a 32-year-old customer, who would die in the hospital 11 days later, prosecutors alleged.
Long Island’s David Cruz, age 31, of Medford, was indicted for first-degree manslaughter Thursday, Sept. 22, in Suffolk County in the death of Jake Scott, of Centereach.
Cruz was working as a bouncer at Tailgaters Bar in Holbrook on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2022, when he got into an argument with Scott shortly before 3 a.m., according to the Suffolk County DA’s Office.
Aware of the building’s exterior surveillance camera, Cruz repeatedly attempted to lure Scott out of the camera’s view, prosecutors said.
After failing to do so, Cruz was captured on video standing on a chair in order to reach the camera before removing his shirt and covering it.
With the camera now obstructed, and seemingly unaware of another security camera at a nearby business that would capture the attack, he unleashed a series of brutal punches on Scott, prosecutors said.
Cruz, standing 6-feet-5-inches tall and weighing 270 pounds, can be seen delivering the first punch as Scott stands up from a chair, knocking Scott onto a sidewalk, according to investigators.
The video then shows Cruz getting on top of Scott and repeatedly punching him in the head, eventually knocking him unconscious.
“When Scott lay motionless and unconscious on the ground, the defendant grabbed the victim’s shirt and pulled him up with it yelling at him to get up,” the DA’s Office said in a statement.
“When Scott didn’t respond, the defendant dropped him back to the ground and delivered a final blow to the victim’s head before fleeing the scene.”
Scott was placed in a medically induced coma at Stony Brook Hospital, where doctors discovered that he had suffered a brain bleed, a complete skull fracture, and a traumatic brain injury.
He later died from his injuries on Thursday, Sept. 1.
Cruz surrendered to police the day after the attack, before Scott died, on a charge of second-degree assault.
At his arraignment Thursday, Sept. 22, Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney requested that Cruz be held on $1 million cash bail.
However, Supreme Court Justice John Collins ordered that Cruz remain free on supervised release, citing the state’s bail reform law.
Cruz was ordered to wear a GPS ankle monitor and must be home each day by 5 p.m. His next court appearance is Tuesday, Oct. 18.
If convicted, he could spend up to 25 years in prison.
Meanwhile, an attorney for Scott’s mother has established a GoFundMe campaign to help the woman with funeral expenses. More than $26,000 had been raised as of Thursday, Sept. 22.
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