Police in Volusia County, Florida are appealing for help from the public in the roadside killing of Carlos Cruz, a 60-year-old father and Army veteran from Deltona, Florida.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office says they responded to the scene of Cruz’s shooting around 8:00 p.m. on Veteran’s Day after a 911 caller reported a vehicle stuck in the ditch with someone lying alongside it. Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene; he did not have a pulse when officers arrived.
In a statement released on Facebook, the sheriff’s office says that they believe Cruz showed up to the scene of the crash to help pull a vehicle from the ditch. The car in the ditch had been reported stolen.
Once Cruz arrived at the scene of the crash, a suspect shot and killed Cruz and stole his truck, according to the timeline constructed by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office has no description of a suspect or suspects at this time; they’ve appealed to the public with a $10,000 reward in the hopes of getting tips that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.
Cruz’s truck was later found abandoned and set on fire in Pine Hills, which is about 35 miles from Deltona.
For the Sheriff’s Office, it’s not just that Cruz, a veteran, was killed on Veteran’s Day. There was a personal connection to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office: Cruz’s brother-in-law Edgar Burgos works for the law enforcement agency.
“If you needed something and he had it, he would give it to you,” Burgos told WFTV. He added that Cruz was probably just trying to help.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood vowed that the department would find the “cold-blooded killer or killers who took his life.”
“It takes a special kind of evil to gun down a stranger who is only trying to help you,” Sheriff Chitwood added. “Anyone who knows something and stays silent is complicit in this heinous act.”
Neighbor Matt Porter told WFTV that he “couldn’t believe” someone would murder his neighbor, who he remembered as a man with “a good heart” and was “always willing to lend a hand.”
“Always waved hello. No, it’s really sad. It’s really sad,” Porter added.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office urges anyone with information to contact the department.