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Buffalo man held without bail in North Tonawanda murder

LOCKPORT – Family, friends and North Tonawanda police were in the Niagara County Courtroom on Thursday morning for the arraignment of Dominick Cruz, who has been charged with a fatal shooting in a North Tonawanda parking lot.

Cruz, 39, fled the area one day after the Jan. 10 shooting, which killed Mark D. Sternin, 25, of the City of Tonawanda, and seriously injured Tyler P. Sandauskas, 24, of Middleport. Cruz escaped out a side door when law enforcement showed up at his workplace and tried to arrest him.

He was brought back to the area on a warrant after U.S. marshals, acting on a tip, apprehended him at a home in Lancaster, Pa.

Cruz was charged with second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. A pretrial was set for July 6 and a trial was set for Sept. 6.

Judge Sara Sheldon ordered him to be remanded to Niagara County Jail without bail to await his trial.

Public Defender Michael Benedict had argued for bail, saying Cruz had a home on Amherst Street in Buffalo, is married and has two children, ages 12 and 13.

But Deputy District Attorney Doreen Hoffman told the court Cruz has ties to Rochester, Chicago, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.