A gunman shot an elderly couple in their truck early Sunday morning in southwestern Florida after street racers surrounded the victims, jumped on their vehicle, and refused to let them pass through an intersection.
What are the details?
The victims were trailering a boat with their truck when they were stopped at the intersection of Milwaukee Boulevard and Homestead Road in Lehigh Acres around 4 a.m., WBBH-TV reported. Lehigh Acres is about 30 minutes east of Fort Myers.
Lee County sheriff’s deputies told the station in a follow-up story that the couple was on a trip to Key West.
But a “car club” was blocking off the intersection for street racing, deputies told WBBH, adding that several people broke away from the larger group, surrounded the elderly couple’s truck and boat, and began to hit, punch, and kick the truck. Some jumped upon the truck and the boat, the station added.
Before the victims were able to drive away, investigators told WBBH that an individual they’ve identified as 17-year-old Armando Cruz ran up to the truck’s window and fired into the truck. The station said both victims suffered gunshot wounds but were able to drive away and get medical help.
“We were going on a family vacation down in Key West for the week,” Cody Langford, the victims’ grandson, told WBBH. “My grandma hasn’t really been out of the house … She’s had some health complications, but we finally talked her into it going last night at 9 o’clock.”
Langford added to the station that “my grandpa drove up to the intersection, and there’s a group of about 100 street racers out in the open. They jumped on my grandpa’s boat and jumped on the car [and] were absolutely crazy. My grandpa then backed the boat up, hit a car behind him, and then turned around.” Langford told WBBH that’s when his grandparents were shot.
Langford’s grandmother was released Sunday from Gulf Coast Hospital, WBBH said, but his grandfather remained in the ICU.
“If you’re shooting a 74-year-old man in up toward the face area, you’re going for the kill,” Langford added to the station. “This person deserves to be locked behind bars for a long, long, long time. You know, we just pray, we pray these guys get caught.”
Cruz was arrested Monday, WBBH said, adding that he faces the following charges: two counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated battery, shooting into an occupied conveyance, discharging a firearm in public, juvenile with a firearm, occupied burglary to a boat, aggravated rioting, possession of a firearm during a felony, and criminal mischief.
Cruz is no stranger to law enforcement. WBBH said he was arrested for beating a disabled man in a wheelchair in North Fort Myers last summer after video of the attack was posted on social media.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno added to the station that two others also were arrested: 19-year-old Robert Moya and 22-year-old Saviok Woods. WBBH said they face charges of aggravated rioting after the sheriff’s forensics team matched their fingerprints on the victims’ truck.
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