A 19-year-old from Indiana has been charged with murder after allegedly killing three people during a four-day spree allegedly inspired by the horror film "The Purge," according to police.
Johnathan Cruz, of Indianapolis, faces 17 charges including felony murder, robbery, intimidation and a criminal gang enhancement, Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry said Wednesday.
Cruz is accused of gunning down Billy Boyd and Jay Higgenbotham on May 12 and Jose Ruiz on May 16 after choosing his victims "100 percent at random," Curry said.
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Prosecutors said Cruz bragged about going on a "purge" before the killings, in reference to the 2013 movie about a fictional 12-hour time period in which all crimes committed are legal.
"Just when you think you can't experience anything more inexplicable and shocking as we frequently do, you are then confronted with circumstances that almost leave you at a loss for words," Curry said in a news conference Wednesday.
Three pages of exhibits filed in court documents show social media posts and text messages from Cruz’s alias, "Sav Hunna," that include numerous racial slurs and photos in which he is seen flashing gang signs, according to NBC News.
In one of the text messages uncovered by NBC News, Cruz allegedly wrote to his girlfriend: "U Better go on Face book and watch da videos of me shootin people I Purge every night now Since im dieing someone else Has to Alot Of people [expletive] dat."
Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department found the first victim, Boyd, lying on a sidewalk May 12 with two gunshot wounds to the head, the Indianapolis Star reports. The next victim, Higgenbotham, was found dead on a sidewalk hours later. He had also been shot multiple times.
The body of the final victim, Jose Ruiz, was discovered May 15 in the driver's seat of a Pontiac, according to police.
The morning of the first two killings, Cruz’s mother texted him to ask what he was doing, The Indianapolis Star reports. Cruz allegedly responded by sending a screenshot of a news article covering his first two killings.
"Delete those after u read it," Cruz told his mother, according to the newspaper.
On May 14, Cruz met up with a teenage girl to whom he had been selling drugs, the Indy Star reports. The two got into an argument and Cruz pulled out a gun, threatening to kill her if she left. He later tried to make her watch a video that showed him shooting Higgenbotham, according to the newspaper.
Cruz was already was in jail on charges of criminal confinement, kidnapping and battery in connection with an alleged drug deal gone bad. The case is unrelated to the killings.
A message seeking comment was left for his public defender in that case.