Hanover Park Police: Winder Cruz Was Killed in Drug Deal that Became Violent; Suspect Held without Bail

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Hanover Park Police protecting the scene near the red Acura that Winder Cruz drove to the scene Thursday night before he was killed (CARDINAL NEWS)
Hanover Park Police protecting the scene near the red Acura that Winder Cruz drove to the scene Thursday night June 1, 2023 before he was killed (CARDINAL NEWS).

Winder Cruz, age 17, who was found stabbed to death in a middle school parking lot, was involved in a marijuana transaction in a grocery store parking lot before he was fatally stabbed, according to Hanover Park police. His body was found about 700 to 800 feet away from the red Acura sedan that he drove to the grocery store,

Homicide suspect Abdullah Ahmed, age 22 of Hanover Park, was charged with first-degree murder on Monday, June 5, 2023, connected to the stabbing death of Winder Cruz, on Thursday night, June 1, 2023.

According to Cook County prosecutors in Cook County Circuit Court Rolling Meadows, surveillance video from a Hanover Park grocery store (Tony’s Finer Foods) captured images of Abdullah Ahmed and Winder Cruz driving in separate vehicles into the large grocery store parking lot at about 8:00 p.m. where Tony’s Finer Foods closes at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday nights.

Hanover Park police recovered video from Tony’s Finer Foods and Al-huda Academy — an Islamic middle school directly behind Tony’s Finer Foods. Both videos provided evidence for the investigation.

Police also recovered text messages in communications between Abdullah Ahmed and Winder Cruz with content regarding arranging the meeting for Winder Cruz to purchase marijuana from Abdullah Ahmed.

Cell phone records and cell tower analysis also placed Ahmed’s cell phone near the crime scene.

Grocery store surveillance video captured Cruz getting out of his car and entering Ahmed’s black Lexus. Prosecutors explained that Ahmed’s sibling was in the back seat to sell the marijuana. Grocery store video showed Cruz stumbling out of the black Lexus, and another video from the middle school showed Cruz collapsing in the parking lot of middle school.

Abdullah Ahmed, homicide suspect (SOURCE: Cook County Sheriff's Office)
Abdullah Ahmed, homicide suspect (SOURCE: Cook County Sheriff’s Office).

Ahmed told Hanover Park police that he acted in self-defense when Cruz allegedly pulled a knife and tried to rob him and his sibling during the marijuana transaction. Abdullah Ahmed told police he punched Cruz, who dropped his knife. Allegedly, Ahmed was able to gain control of the knife, and then stabbed Cruz in the face and neck.

An acquaintance of Cruz, who was aware that Cruz was planning to purchase marijuana, was monitoring Winder’s location with a cell phone app. When the app reported that Winder’s cell phone had not moved for a prolonged period, the acquaintance arrived at the scene plotted by the app, and discovered the body of Winder Cruz. The acquaintance called police, apparently reporting that Winder Cruz had been shot. Police arrived and deployed body shields when they discovered the body of Winder Cruz. A perimeter was set up to search for the offender and evidence. That perimeter was broken down a short time later when no offender was found, and another perimeter was established for investigative purposes.

Winder’s red Acura was found later where it was still parked in the outer part of the Tony’s Finer Food lot almost near Barrington Road.

Investigators were able to identify Ahmed as a suspect, and recovered a bloody shirt, and pants with blood stains at Ahmed’s residence. Police also recovered a knife, allegedly used in the stabbing homicide. The knife was found under the driver’s seat of Ahmed’s car. There was also blood splatter on the center console , dashboard and interior windshield of the vehicle, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Abdullah Ahmed’s next scheduled court date is at Cook County Circuit Court Rolling Meadows on June 30, 2023. He was ordered held without bond, and is being held at Cook County Jail DIV5-2D-9-2

Male, age 17, killed in homicide in Hanover Park, Illinois. YouTube Tips ⓘ

The Cook County Medical Examiners Office on Friday June 2, 2023 released the identity a teen found dead in a homicide near Barrington Road and Irving Park Road as Hanover Park resident Winder Cruz, age 17. The Cause of Death is reported to be caused by multiple sharp force injuries.

Hanover Park Police confirmed Saturday morning that they were investigating a homicide that occurred about 9:28 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023 in the area northwest of the intersection of Barrington Road and Irving Park Road. Police, firefighters, and paramedics from Hanover Park responded about 9:28 p.m. to the report of a person down in the parking lot in front of Al-huda Academy — an Islamic middle school located at 7455 Jensen Boulevard. The initial call for help reported a person shot, but that report was believed to have been possibly incorrect because police did not initially confirm that the homicide was caused by a shooting.

Al-huda Academy is located just west of Tony’s Fresh Market. A crime scene perimeter was established around a red Acura sedan in the parking lot in front of Tony’s Fresh Market on Barrington Road north of Irving Park Road. The red Acura is believed to have been used by the victim Thursday night, but police did not initially confirm whether the red Acura belonged to the victim.

Cook County MCAT, the Major Case Assistance Team, collected evidence most of the night until at least around 4:00 a.m. Friday. Police may have processed the Acura later Friday morning.

Overall the crime scene perimeter covered a wide area — from Irving Park Road to Tower Drive west of Barrington Road and on both sides of Jensen Boulevard. One Hanover Park police officer was particularly intolerant of media observation even at 3:00 a.m. at the curb of the north side of Irving Park Road, which was about 200 feet to 400 feet from the area of the parking lot where the victim’s body was located. The police officer at the corner of Irving Park Road and Jensen Boulevard appeared to be excessively angry without reason — abnormal compared to all other police officers who interacted at the wide area scene.

One unnamed source told Cardinal News that police were investigating whether a shootout occurred. Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to a report of penetrating trauma (stabbing or gunshot), which is the normal non-specific announcement on radio dispatches currently. Firefighters were advised that the scene was not confirmed as secure, because a vehicle or vehicles were still driving by the scene. The scene was secured by about 9:32 p.m. to 9:34 p.m. and paramedics immediately moved up to assess the victim, who was unresponsive and suffering from blood loss. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hanover Park police did not confirm that the homicide was caused by a shooting, and WGN News reported that Hanover Park police told the news organization that “circumstances behind the incident” (were) “not a shooting.” The Daily Herald reported that video secured from Al-huda Academy showed the victim collapse in the parking lot of the school after running from “a grocery store to the east after being shot” … the grocery store would be Tony’s Fresh Market.

The Cook County Medical Examiners Office confirmed that a 17 year-old male died at 7455 Jensen Boulevard about 9:42 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023. Initially, no cause of death was provided.

Witnesses stated that the 17 year-old male worked at Walmart.

Police were working to secure video images from Al-huda and other locations that may help with the investigation.

Hanover Park police stated the incident appears to be isolated with no threat to the public.

Anyone having information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Hanover Park Police Lieutenant Gniewosz at 630-823-5516.

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