Neighbors shocked to hear movie motivated deadly crimes

Johnathan Cruz faced three life sentences for murders inspired by movie (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Neighbors living near the crime scenes related to the alleged “Purge” killer wondered if they could have been his next victim.

Crime near the corner of Washington Street and Linwood Avenue on Indianapolis’ east side is unfortunately common, according to Conor Dailey. He lives just a few houses down.

“We’ve had quite a few instances that really freaked us out,” Dailey said.

None freaked him out more than what happened in the alley down his block a few weeks ago.

“My first reactions were just to call my wife and tell her to start being more careful,”Dailey said.

On the morning of May 15, police said Jose Ruiz was shot in the face as he sat in a parked car in the alley.

Court documents released Wednesday reveal he was part of a personal crime spree at the hands of Johnathan Cruz.

Investigators say over a four-day stretch, 19-year-old Cruz killed three people and robbed another person near 10th Street and Linwood Avenue.

“That’s about half a mile (away) and it’s right by a school which is really creep,” said Dailey.

That creepy feeling only intensified when we told Dailey of Cruz’s twisted motivation.

Court documents state Cruz was mimicking the movie “The Purge” in which people commit violent and deadly crimes without any fear of punishment.

Investigators said Cruz picked his victims randomly.

“Seems like the line between people’s reality and what they see on TV is so messed up now that people like him exist, going around hurting people for absolutely no reason,” Dailey said.

Another neighbor who asked we hide his identity said, “Hearing that it was just down the street and randomly picking people out, no I can’t go for that.”

Cruz’s arrest did give the neighbors we talked with a sense of relief. But if it doesn’t change the danger on their street they’ll make a change themselves.

“Soon as we can we’re moving,” said Dailey. Soon as we get in a better financial situation we’re moving.”

Until he moves, Dailey and others have changed their habits to feel safe.

“When I leave for work in the morning I just kind of go a little slower, scope out the street a little more and a lot of times I’ll have my dog come out to the front with me just up to the fence at least,” he said.

The other neighbor added “I’ll just be protecting what’s mine. And if they come here they’re not going to leave. If they trying to do break in or do any harm here they’re not going to leave here the same way they came here.”

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