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Home | news | UPDATED: $10K Reward Offered: VCSO Detectives Investigating Shooting Death In Deltona
Aside arrow UPDATED: $10K Reward Offered: VCSO Detectives Investigating Shooting Death In Deltona
November 11, 2017 11:14 pm

Andrew Gant
Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations


2:45 p.m. Nov. 15 update: Below is a letter received today from Maria Peralta, Mr. Cruz’s niece. Ms. Peralta lives in Boston, Mass. The family has expressed their thanks for your coverage of this tragedy but is respectfully declining interview requests.

Regarding the VCSO investigation: Our Major Case detectives continue to actively investigate this case and urge anyone with information to come forward. The number for Crime Stoppers is 888-277-TIPS, and anonymous tips can also be submitted via westopcrime.com. Our detectives in Investigative Services can also be reached at 386-254-1537. No further updates are available at this time.

Ms. Peralta writes:

This past week, my uncle was murdered by someone he was trying to help. Our family has been shaken by this incredibly painful loss. It all feels painfully unreal.

Carlos Cruz-Echevarria was many things to many people. He was a small business owner who had high standards for his work. He was an animal lover and raised the most beautifully delicate exotic birds. He was what someone from my generation would call “a maker.” He was a loving husband who wanted his family to be happy and healthy. He liked getting to know people. I don’t think there’s anyone he couldn’t strike up a conversation with. He was the kind of person you’d imagine when you think of what a good neighbor should be. He was always helping someone out with something. He’d drop whatever he was doing to help if you asked. He was the kind of man I hope my son one day grows into.

Our family has lost a man who made this world and this life so much more rich and beautiful just for being himself. We lost Carlos well before we should have, because he was doing what came natural to him: helping out when he saw a need. If you know anything about what happened to our loved one, this includes anything that led up to or anything relevant that occurred after his murder, please share that information with the law enforcement investigators. We want to understand what happened and why. Please help if you know anything about what happened.


2:20 p.m. Nov. 13 update: The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is offering a reward of $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the killing of Carlos Cruz, whose death appears to be the result of his effort to help a stranger.

At this point in the active investigation, sheriff’s detectives believe Cruz heard the suspect vehicle having trouble near his home on Puritan Street. It’s believed that he offered to help by bringing his truck to help pull the car (a stolen vehicle) free from the ditch where it was stuck. Instead, he was shot to death and his truck was stolen.

Cruz was an Army veteran and was married for 34 years. He is the brother-in-law of a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office employee who said it was in his nature to help anyone he saw in need. “If you needed something and he had it, he would give it to you,” said the VCSO’s Edgar Burgos. “Knowing him, I bet he went over there to see if they needed help.”

“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 after authorizing the $10,000 reward. “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.”

Anyone with information is urged to call it in. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 888-277-TIPS, on the web at westopcrime.com or via the app available for download at the website. Or call 386-248-1777 to reach the VCSO Communications Center and speak to a dispatcher.


11:30 a.m. Nov. 12 update: The victim in this case is Carlos Cruz Echevarria, 60, of Deltona. Detectives are continuing to work this case and no additional information is available for release at this point in the investigation.



The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting death of a male victim found beside a vehicle Saturday evening in Deltona.

Deputies responded to the intersection of Malaga Avenue and Puritan Street in Deltona just before 8 p.m. Saturday after a caller reported a car was stuck in a ditch and a man was lying on the ground behind it. 

It was soon discovered the victim had a gunshot wound and no pulse. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Sheriff’s detectives are actively investigating this case and no further information is being released at this point in the investigation. The victim’s identity is not being released pending positive identification and notification of his family. Additional updates will be provided as they become available.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office

Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352

Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151

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