Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Rochester Woman Pleads Guilty to Making Internet Threats and Firearms Possession
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Gabygayl Cruz, 21, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Charles J. Siragusa to transmitting a threat in interstate commerce and possessing and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Moynihan, who is handling the case, stated that on the evening of June 7, 2021, on Facebook Live, Cruz threatened to shoot a man, stating at the end of the video, “Tune-in in five minutes.” Later that night, Cruz and another person went to an area of Rochester where Cruz knew the person she threatened spent time. In a second Facebook Live video, a black screen appeared but 11 gunshots could be heard followed by the sounds of Cruz running and giggling. In a third video, Cruz recounted the earlier shooting, imitated shooting a gun and continued to issue threats to others.
On July 1, 2021, Cruz again used Facebook Live to threaten to shoot a woman, displaying a .45 caliber firearm, while issuing the threat. Cruz then went to a Columbia Avenue address in Rochester to confront the woman, but she was not there. While leaving the area, Cruz struck a parked car and fired a shot in the air. Cruz was arrested the next day when she was stopped driving a car in which officers found a loaded .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol, which was the same firearm she displayed in one of the videos.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Rochester Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Smith and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. DeVito.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 6, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. before Judge Siragusa.