Slain Army veteran's truck involved in hit-and-run crash after his murder

Crash happened after Carlos Cruz was fatally gunned down

DELTONA, Fla. – The Volusia County Sheriff's Office told News 6 the truck belonging to an Army veteran who was fatally shot while trying to help stranger was involved in a hit-and-run crash the same night he was killed.

Investigators said Carlos Cruz, 60, was shot and killed while trying to help a disabled vehicle that got stuck in a ditch along Malaga Avenue Saturday night. 

"This is a good person, who by all accounts from what we could tell, just trying to help somebody out and got murdered for it," Volusia County Sheriff's Office spokesman Andrew Gant said.

According to detectives, whoever shot and killed Cruz then stole his truck and it was involved in a hit-and-run crash in the Deltona area. The Sheriff's Office isn't releasing many details on the crash, citing an ongoing investigation.

A small memorial of flowers, candles and an American flag wrapped around a wooden cross stands just feet from where Cruz was left to die. All that is left of the scene are tire marks in the grass.

"It takes a special kind of evil to commit this kind of murder on somebody who was only there to help," Gant said. 

Investigators said Cruz was at home when he heard a car get stuck in a ditch. The Army veteran drove his truck over to try and help pull the disabled vehicle out. That's when someone shot him three times,  killing him.

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the disabled vehicle was reportedly stolen out of Maitland.

The suspect or suspects then stole Cruz's truck. It was involved in a hit-and-run crash the same night the Army veteran was killed.

Cruz's truck was later found ditched and torched in Pine Hills.

Now days without any leads or arrests, the Sheriff's Office said it is frustrated and hopes a $10,000 reward will bring in any tips.

"Even if it is something small. It may seem like nothing. It may seem like something someone heard or saw that night or afterward, call it in. You never know, it could be the missing piece that brings the suspect or suspects to justice," Gant said.

Cruz's family is pleading for help and answers. His niece released a statement this week saying: "Our family has been shaken by this incredibly painful loss. It all feels painfully unreal."

If you have any information on this investigation, call the Volusia County Sheriff's Office or Crimestoppers.

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