A man accused of fatally shooting a Department of Public Works employee in broad daylight in Lawrence, Massachusetts last month was ordered held without bail, Monday.
The move came after Ariel Toribio, 20, of Lawrence, was arrested Friday when he showed up in court to support his cousin, who was facing a firearms charge.
He is charged with murder in connection with the death of Marcos "Tony" Ruiz, 52, of Methuen, who was performing road repairs on Andover Street in Lawrence when he was shot on the afternoon of Jan. 15.
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At the time, police responded to a report of shots fired and found him suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
At the Monday arraignment, a not guilty plea was entered on Toribio's behalf.
Ruiz's death shocked people in the city.
"He was just filling the potholes, doing his job, and 'boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,'" witness Steven King recalled. "I told his two co-workers to press on the wounds to keep the blood in, and saying, 'Stay with me, stay with me,' and that's when all the cops started to show up."
"I heard three shots, come over to the corner of Andover street and I noticed a DPW worker laying on the ground and a car took off up the street and the next thing I know my neighbor said a city worker was on the ground," witness Robert Ansaldi added.
The street was shut down while police searched for the shooter. Families who were being escorted to their homes said the situation was chaotic.
"Honestly it's been a mess trying to get home," neighbor Caitlyn Pellerin said. "It's sad that a man has lost his life and his family going through the grieving process."
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera called Ruiz "a great employee" who had worked for the city for many years.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," he said. "We will be reaching out to the family to let them know we are here for them and to support them through this tough time."
After the shooting, prosecutors said Ruiz was not the intended target.
NBC10 Boston has learned Toribio was free on $5,000 bail when the murder he is accused of occurred.
According to court records, Toribio was arrested by Lawrence police in September of 2018 after his car was allegedly seen leaving the scene of a non-fatal shooting. In that incident, Toribio was indicted on a number of charges including possession of cocaine and accessory after the fact. The case was scheduled to have another hearing in March.
Toribio is due back in court next month for the Jan. 15 shooting.