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Justino Cruz: Port St. Lucie son charged with killing father

Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-13 20:03:21-05


Port St. Lucie police arrested a man accused of stabbing his father to death Tuesday afternoon and later calling 911.

Investigators said the deadly stabbing happened at the Club Apartments located at 141 SW Palm Drive, where they say both Cruz Jr. and his father lived.

Police identified the victim as 65-year-old Justino Cruz, who is the father of the suspect, Justino Cruz Jr.

Police say Justino Cruz Jr., 36, called 911 around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and gave a shocking statement to dispatchers:

"I just killed my father," he told the dispatcher. "I'm schizoaffective, I needed my medication, and no one listened."

Police found Cruz on the floor of his master bedroom with multiple injuries that looked like stab wounds.

Officers responded quickly to the scene, but Cruz Jr. was not at the apartment.

A manhunt with St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office K9s and the helicopter lasted several hours.

Police also posted Cruz Jr.’s picture on social media.

“Luckily, one of the people who that reached called in and said they believed they saw them over at the Publix over by Crosstown [Parkway],” Sabol said.

Police said an officer in the area responded to the call and found a person matching Cruz Jr.’s description in the area of the Publix located at 9335 SW Commerce Centre Dr.

Officers closed in on their suspect.

“He turned around, took his hat off, and the officer recognized that it was him and just put him into custody without any resistance or any incident,” Sabol said.

Now, police will try to determine a motive.

Police do have a history with the family.

In September of this year, Cruz reported his son, Cruz Jr., missing. He was later found in North Carolina.

Court records also show Cruz Jr. was charged with burglary and petit theft in 2009, but was found mentally or physically unable to stand trial.

Cruz Jr. was booked at the St. Lucie County Jail overnight and faces murder charges. A judge denied bond during a Wednesday morning court appearance.

Sabol said a dive team recovered a knife from a pond near the home that is the possible weapon used in the deadly attack.

A police report shows that Cruz Jr. told investigators that he had schizoaffective disorder and was taking medicine for it. Earlier in the week, he said he sought help at New Horizons, which treats people for mental health disorders.