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Army veteran shot and killed while trying to help driver stuck in ditch on Veterans Day

November 15, 2017

An Army veteran was found dead in a ditch in Deltona, Florida, by authorities on Saturday evening, Volusia County Sheriff’s deputies said.

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (Twitter)

Carlos Cruz Echevarria, 60, was found dead around 8 p.m. after a passerby called police telling them there was a man next to a car stuck in a ditch.

When police arrived on-scene, they found that Echevarria was dead and had a gunshot wound.

“Sheriff’s detectives believe Cruz heard the suspect vehicle having trouble near his home on Puritan Street,” a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post read. “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.”

His truck was later found torched in Pine Hills near Orlando.

The Sheriff’s Office is offering a $10,000 reward for information that could lead to the conviction of the Army veterans’ killer.

“We owe it to Mr. Cruz and his family to find the ruthless, cold-blooded killer or killers who took his life,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said. “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.”

Cruz’s brother-in-law said Cruz was the type of man to help out others who needed help.

“If you needed something and he had it, he would give it to you,” Edgar Burgos said. “Knowing him, I bet he went over there to see if they needed help.”

Cruz served in the Army for a short period of time and was honorably discharged.