According to an affidavit, Johnathan Cruz’s alleged actions in Indianapolis were less calculated, but they still left devastation in his wake.
The killings happened within days of one another, all seemingly random and without a clear motive. Only later, when police interviewed acquaintances of Cruz, did a possible framework, a twisted one, emerge.
He allegedly spoke of going on a deadly crime rampage — a “purge,” making reference to the movie.
Billy Boyd was the first to be found dead just after midnight on May 12, on the sidewalk with a gunshot wound to the head. Hours later, Indianapolis police found Jay Higgenbotham also lying on a sidewalk, dead, near a fire hydrant. He had multiple gunshot wounds.
On May 15, a third body emerged: Jose Alberto Ruiz, dead in the driver’s seat of a Pontiac Grand Am, with face and head trauma and a gunshot wound to the neck. He was found around 4:30 a.m., near the time Higgenbotham was discovered three days prior.
In the case of Boyd and Ruiz, no 911 calls reported shots fired around the location of their corpses, and no witnesses were identified. Witnesses told police that they saw a car pull up beside Higgenbotham. One of the passengers was seen getting out and trying to pick a fight.
“Let’s bump!” the person said, according to witnesses. When Higgenbotham tried to run away, the person was seen shooting at him until he crumpled to the ground, allegedly calling Higgenbotham the n-word before returning to his car.
Within the same time frame, other seemingly random crimes were occurring in the area. A robbery here; a threat of violence there. As police tracked these reports, their investigations led them to one person in particular: 19-year-old Cruz, also known as “Sav Hunna.”
Cruz, whose initial hearing is set for Thursday, has been charged with three counts of murder, as well as robbery, intimidation and criminal gang enhancement.
The accused appears on his booking photo with a red star tattoo below his right eye.
In the span of three days, Cruz allegedly killed three people, robbed one and threatened several others at gunpoint. Police believe that he was acting in connection with a gang, but no others have been named. Several individuals cooperating with the investigation are juveniles.
Searches of Cruz’s cellphone, the affidavit says, revealed an obsession with violence and guns. Witnesses, including one who said she was his girlfriend, described a callous individual hellbent on taking lives — particularly those of black people — without regard for consequences.
On the morning after Boyd and Higgenbotham were found dead, Cruz was allegedly texting his mom, with whom he lives, according to one witness.
“What r u doin,” his mother texted.
In response, Cruz sent her two screenshots of a Fox news story about detectives investigating the fatal shooting, the affidavit says.
“Delete those after u read it,” Cruz allegedly said.
“Do u know they can still pull up deleted history,” his mother asked.
“Yup,” Cruz responded, “Ima get a new phone soon say mine was stolen.”
Later that day, Cruz’s mother texted him “hello,” to which he allegedly responded, “buyin new gun.”
On May 14, Cruz allegedly robbed a man named Larry Shaw. Pointing a magnum handgun at Shaw, Cruz and one other person took $200 cash and two cellphones, the affidavit says. Then either Cruz or the other man struck Shaw in the head, causing him to bleed.
Over the course of the same week, Cruz also allegedly threatened women with whom he was romantically involved. One woman told police that she had a sexual relationship with Cruz, who threatened to shoot her if she left him at a Wendy’s restaurant.
When she tried to get away from Cruz, he allegedly told her that he had shot others before and that “another body wouldn’t mean anything.”
The affidavit says that on several videos found on Cruz’s phone, the teen makes reference to gang activity and spews the n-word while nonchalantly handling a revolver. Some videos show Cruz sitting in the passenger seat of a car and shooting his gun out the window.
“Better go on Face book and watch da Videos of me shootin people,” Cruz texted his girlfriend, the affidavit says. “I Purge every night now.”