Remember Christopher Cruz, the guy who went viral last month when a Chicago jiu-jitsu instructor pinned him to the floor of an Uptown 7-Eleven after he allegedly battered a store clerk? Well, his legal troubles have escalated. Prosecutors this week charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Cruz, 30, was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center over the weekend for treatment of a medical condition, prosecutors said. While inventorying his property, a hospital worker allegedly discovered an unloaded firearm in his backpack. According to prosecutors, the gun had been reported stolen.
Judge Charles Beach held Cruz on $10,000 bail for the gun charge. But Cruz is also now being held without bail for violating the terms of bond in a pending stolen motor vehicle case. Additionally, Beach set bail at $10,000 for violating bail terms in the 7-Eleven battery case. Bail in the battery case has since been increased to $25,000, according to sheriff’s office records.
Prosecutors said on Monday that Cruz was convicted in 2009 of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, which resulted in a one-year sentence.
Cruz is a father of two, according to Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber, and he works full-time for a cleaning service.
Back on June 17, third-degree black belt jiu-jitsu instructor Idriz Redzovic pinned Cruz to the floor of the 7-Eleven store at 1532 West Lawrence after Cruz allegedly struck the cashier.
“He assaulted a 7-Eleven employee, so I jumped in and took him to the ground and did a gift wrap hold, which is taught in the art of Jiu-Jitsu,” Redzovic explains. He teaches the martial art at Supreme Jiu-Jitsu Chicago.
For more than 13 minutes, Redzovic effortlessly contained Cruz while waiting for Chicago police to arrive at the store. The task was so easy, Redzovic even propped his phone up to livestream everything.
According to a CPD spokesperson, Cruz stole food from the store around 8 p.m. and then came back a little while later. A store clerk told him to leave.
“The offender took a fighting stance,” a CPD spokesperson said optimistically, “at which time the employee informed the offender that if he did not leave the police would be called.”
“The offender then punched the employee/victim and a witness detained the offender until police arrived,” the spokesperson continued.
Things got tense about six minutes after Redzovic’s phone started recording. Cruz bucked around and tossed some obscenities. He calmed down eventually and declared a pressing need for a cigarette.
When cops finally arrived, Redzovic eased off of Cruz’s back as two cops moved in with handcuffs.
“What’s going on?” another cop asked upon entering the store.
“I know Jiu-Jitsu,” Redzovic replied, “so…”
Cruz was charged with misdemeanor retail theft and misdemeanor battery in that case.