Man accused in 'Up or on the Rocks' killing arrested - Tucson News Now

Man accused in 'Up or on the Rocks' killing arrested on Disney vacation

Mike Cruz Mike Cruz
Brian Simpe Brian Simpe
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Hartford police said they have made an arrest in connection with the shooting death of a 19-year-old from Manchester at a popular Hartford club.

Brian Simpe was shot in the chest after an altercation at Up or on the Rocks on the corner of Union Place and Allyn Street earlier this month.

Sources told Eyewitness News a brewing dispute inside the club between two groups over a young lady boiled over outside after closing time. Simpe, sources said, tried to intervene when he was shot. 

Shortly after the shooting, police identified the suspect as Mike Cruz, 23.

Police said they obtained information that he was on a Disney World vacation, and Friday he was arrested in Florida.

"We got some pretty good information that he was down at Disney, very solid information," said Hartford police Lt. Brian Foley. "We lined up our partners down there. The state marshals, working with our intelligence detectives, our major crimes detectives, He was surveilled by his hotel, and eventually he was surveilled offsite from there."

Simpe was a 2012 Manchester High School graduate, worked at Shop Rite, attended Manchester Community College and wanted to own his own business, family said.

"We hope and pray that he can be identified as the shooter,'" said Simpe's uncle, Richard Osei. "And also if he is the shooter, he should be sent to jail for the rest of his life."

Cruz was charged with murder, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a pistol/revolver.

Police said Cruz has six arrests in Hartford, including narcotic sales and various gun offenses.

"I don't know when he left Connecticut, but possibly he left immediately after the shooting or the day after," Osei said. "And I also thank the Hartford police and the detectives for bringing him to justice."

Cruz is being held on $2 million bond.

"Michael Cruz admits he was at that location that evening. He thought police wanted to talk to him as a witness," said Gerald Klein, who is the attorney for Cruz. "This trip was booked and paid for before what happened. He had a round trip ticket and was planning to come home, and he wasn't taking off to avoid prosecution."

Cruz is being held in Florida pending extradition back to Connecticut. Klein said he is telling Cruz to waive extradition back to Connecticut.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Local newsMore>>

  • Family visits Tucson to find answers on OIS suspect's death

    Family visits Tucson to find answers on OIS suspect's death

    Wednesday, December 13 2017 12:15 AM EST2017-12-13 05:15:02 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    It has been quite a journey for Leon Rucker and his relatives to get to Tucson from their home in Atlanta, Georgia - the former home of Frederick Douglas Wilburn Jr. before he moved to southern Arizona in 2014.

    It has been quite a journey for Leon Rucker and his relatives to get to Tucson from their home in Atlanta, Georgia - the former home of Frederick Douglas Wilburn Jr. before he moved to southern Arizona in 2014.

  • Public sounds off on proposed merger of Catalina, Rincon High Schools

    Public sounds off on proposed merger of Catalina, Rincon High Schools

    Wednesday, December 13 2017 12:07 AM EST2017-12-13 05:07:59 GMT
    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

    A lot of perspectives, concerns, and thoughts on the plan Tuesday night, so many, in fact, that public comment portion was extended twice, with two overflow areas opened up to accommodate the crowds.

    A lot of perspectives, concerns, and thoughts on the plan Tuesday night, so many, in fact, that public comment portion was extended twice, with two overflow areas opened up to accommodate the crowds.

  • THINK ABOUT IT: How to Support a Survivor of Sexual Assault

    THINK ABOUT IT: How to Support a Survivor of Sexual Assault

    Tuesday, December 12 2017 6:34 PM EST2017-12-12 23:34:47 GMT
    (Source: KOLD News 13)(Source: KOLD News 13)

    Last week, Time magazine named the Silence Breakers as “2017 Person of the Year,” applauding those who have bravely spoken out about sexual assault and harassment, shining a light on an issue that is all too prevalent. 1 in 6 American women will be raped. 

    Last week, Time magazine named the Silence Breakers as “2017 Person of the Year,” applauding those who have bravely spoken out about sexual assault and harassment, shining a light on an issue that is all too prevalent. 1 in 6 American women will be raped. 

Powered by Frankly