FREEHOLD — It started as a small gathering Sunday in the borough after Efrain Cruz Jr. invited over two friends to drink alcohol and check out his firearms, according to a court document.
During it, Cruz attempted to load a magazine into a handgun that went off, striking one of his friends in the torso, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
The man, still unidentified, died later at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.
The affidavit was the basis for charging Cruz, 45, with reckless manslaughter. Authorities said he was recklessly handing the firearm that killed his friend.
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Police went to the home on the 20 block of McDermott Street shortly after 8:30 p.m. Sunday after receiving a call about a gunshot victim.
Cruz acknowledged to patrol officers that he tried to load a magazine into the black semi-automatic handgun when the firearm discharged, according to the affidavit.
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Cruz’s attorney, Tara Breslow-Testa of Freehold, said Tuesday, “Mr. Cruz and his family are devastated over the loss of life in this situation.”
Cruz remains at Monmouth County Jail in Freehold Township awaiting a detention hearing.
Ken Serrano covers crime, breaking news, investigations and local issues. Reach him at [email protected]