GRPD seeks suspect in 2020 shooting death of 19-year-old

Grand Rapids

An undated courtesy photo of Israel Ramiro Cardosa.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police are asking for the public’s help to find the suspect in the 2020 shooting death of a 19-year-old.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says Israel Cardosa, 21, of Kentwood, is wanted on felony charges including open murder.

He’s accused of shooting Julian Tovar in the area of Crofton Street SW near Roy Avenue on the night of July 22. GRPD said in a Tuesday release that Tovar was driving home from work when Cardosa, a known gang member, and three others mistook him for a gang member and opened fire.

Tovar was rushed to the hospital, where he remained for months but never regained consciousness. He died Dec. 16.

“This was truly a senseless and unwarranted crime,” GRPD Sgt. Dan Adams said in the release. “A … kid, who worked hard and had a loving family in our community, is dead for absolutely no reason at all.” 

Police say Cardosa could be anywhere in the country. Anyone with information about where he may be is asked to call GRPD detectives at 616.456.3380 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

Two other people also face criminal charges in Tovar’s death. One of them, 21-year-old Saul Ortega-Cristen, was ordered in March to stand trial on charges of second-degree murder, carrying a concealed weapon, felony firearm and gang membership.

A booking photo of Saul Ortega-Cristen from the Kent County Correctional Facility.

The other is a juvenile, so that person’s name is not being released by police.

Tovar’s death was among 38 homicides in Grand Rapids in 2020. It was the city’s most violent year ever.

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