Army veteran shot for his efforts to help driver stuck on side of road, deputies say

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot and killed a Deltona man who was trying to offer help on the side of the road.

Deputies said they believe Carlos Cruz, 60, heard the suspect’s vehicle having trouble near his home on Puritan Street and Malaga Avenue, so Cruz brought his truck to help pull the vehicle from a ditch.

Instead, he was shot to death and his truck was stolen, deputies said.

The car in the ditch was reported as stolen, deputies said.

Deputies said the pickup truck was found in Pine Hills and had been set on fire.

Cruz's neighbor Matt Porter couldn't believe someone could gun down such a friendly, outgoing person.

"It's terrible that can happen to someone," he said. "Especially with such a good heart."

Porter has lived in the neighborhood for about six months and said he often saw Cruz out walking his dogs.

"He was the first person I met when I moved in," Porter said. "He was always willing to help a hand. Always waved hello. No, it's really sad. It's really sad."

Cruz, an Army veteran, was the brother-in-law of Edgar Burgos, an employee with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

“We owe it to Mr. Cruz and his family to find the ruthless, cold-blooded killer or killers who took his life,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Monday. “It takes a special kind of evil to gun down a stranger who is only trying to help you. And anyone who knows something and stays silent is complicit in this heinous act.”

Porter also wanted to see the shooter taken off the streets and punished for what happened.

"I hope for the sake of justice (that) they find him and do what they can to catch the perpetrators and let justice be served," Porter said.

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 888-277-TIPS, or submit a tip online at westopcrime.com.