Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Department have arrested three suspects for the November 1 homicide of Roberto Gutierrez Cruz. The suspects, Luis F. Avelar Morales, age 17, of Girard Street in Gaithersburg, Daniel Adonai Ramos, age 19, of Lost Knife Circle in Montgomery Village, and Juan Espinal Rapalo, age 18, of Summit Avenue in Gaithersburg, have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder and the use of a firearm during the commission of a felony or crime of violence. Avelar Morales has been charged as an adult.
On November 2 at approximately 12:42 p.m., 6th District officers and Fire and Rescue personnel responded to the wooded area behind the 18200 block of Contour Road for the report of a possibly injured person. A passerby had located the person and called 911. Once at the scene, officers located the victim, identified as 22-year-old Roberto Gutierrez Cruz, of Lost Knife Road in Montgomery Village, deceased on the ground.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the manner of his death a homicide and the cause of his death as multiple gunshot wounds.
The homicide investigation has revealed that the three suspects and the victim were in the wooded area behind Contour Lane on November 1 at approximately 10:30 p.m. The facts and circumstances surrounding what occurred prior to the homicide are still under investigation, but at some point during this time on November 1, Cruz was shot.
Espinal Rapalo was arrested on November 4 and Avelar Morales was arrested on November 5. During police questioning, both suspects stated that they were present during the homicide. Espinal Rapalo and Avelar Morales are being held without bond. (Espinal Rapalo continues to be held without bond after a bond review hearing. Luis Morales has a bond review hearing scheduled for Monday, November 9).
Ramos was arrested today (November 7) and is currently being questioned by police.
Detectives have recovered the gun used in the homicide. Investigators believe that this homicide is gang related and that the suspects are associated with the MS-13 gang. This investigation is ongoing and therefore additional information will not be released.
Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240.773.5070 or call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
A photo of Avelar Morales is not being released because he is a juvenile.
Juan Espinal Rapalo