An Indianapolis man faces nearly 20 charges in connection to a four-day killing spree last month inspired by the horror film “The Purge,” prosecutors said Wednesday.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said 19-year-old Jonathan Cruz went on a four-day, one-man “purge.” Curry said Cruz made statements to witnesses that he was going “purging” and posted explicit messages which included him saying “I purge every night now.”
In the movie, the U.S. government legalizes all crime, including murder, for one day without fear of prosecution.
Cruz is accused of committing three murders between May 12 and May 15. According to Fox 59, investigators said the man killed Billy Boyd and Jay Higginbotham on May 12. Court documents state that Cruz had told one of his friends that he needed to leave Indianapolis “asap.”
However, on the following Sunday Cruz allegedly killed Jose Ruiz inside his car. Court documents said that Cruz picked his victims at random.
He was being held on kidnapping charges before authorities were able to piece together that he could’ve been responsible for the killing spree across the city in the middle of May. The kidnapping victim told authorities that Cruz was murdering and robbing people on the east side of Indianapolis.
"The charges against Mr. Cruz arise out of statements made to several witnesses, photos, videos and text messages taken from a phone seized from him when he was arrested on May 16," Curry said.
Cruz is also a suspect in a May 14 robbery. Steven Clark has also been charged in connection with the robbery.
Cruz is facing 17 charges including: three murder charges for each victim, attempted robbery resulting in a serious bodily injury, two counts of robbery results in serious bodily injury, armed robbery, intimidation, two counts of pointing a firearm and criminal gang enhancement.
Curry said prosecutors could potentially ask for the death penalty.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett released a statement shortly after authorities announced the charges against Cruz, praising officials for their efforts.
"Senseless acts of violence such as those alleged in this case are incomprehensible, but thanks to the swift actions of IMPD detectives, Prosecutor Terry Curry and witnesses willing to come forward, we are one step closer to providing answers for these victims’ families,” he said.
Officials found videos from the shootings and various gang-related activities on his cellphone. Court documents revealed that he allegedly told a kidnapping victim that he had killed before.
"Another body wouldn't mean anything," he said, according to court documents.
According to Fox 59, Cruz allegedly sent text messages to his mother about the murders he had allegedly committed. When his mother told him that authorities can still pickup deleted cellphone history, Cruz allegedly said he was going to get a new phone.
Additional text messages to the mother of one of his girlfriend’s alluded to him needing to skip town. The woman replied that she would put him in a hotel and possibly get him to another state. She told him to change his appearance and delete his Facebook account.
According to court documents, authorities recovered two guns during the investigation. His arrest came after statements from several witnesses and victims, Curry said.
The Indy Star reported that Cruz will have a hearing Thursday at 1:30 p.m.