Fresno Sheriff: Man murders wife’s family members, crashes into train, shoots and kills himself

Crime

Carlos Cruz

FRESNO COUNTY, California (KSEE/KGPE) — A Parlier man shot and killed two members of his estranged wife’s family, then he crashed into a train during a police chase and shot himself in the head, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

The two people killed Saturday were identified as Rafael Garcia, 42, and Jonathan Garcia, 16. The man who the Sheriff’s Office said shot and killed both of them is Carlos “Charles” Cruz, 25, of
Parlier.

Around 5 p.m., Saturday, the Fowler Police Department received a report of gunshots at a home on the 200 block of north 5th Street in Fowler.

Officers arrived and found Rafael and Jonathan Garcia, suffering from gunshot wounds. Both died at the house.

The Sheriff’s Office developed information that Cruz was responsible for killing them. Fowler Police notified surrounding law enforcement agencies of the suspect’s name and vehicle so they could be on the lookout for him.

Fowler Police also contacted the Sheriff’s Office and requested its Homicide Unit take over the investigation.

Shortly after 5:30 p.m., Reedley Police officers saw a black Subaru matching the one Cruz may have been driving, and they attempted to make a traffic stop.

The driver, later determined to be Cruz, refused to pull over and lead officers on a pursuit. He fled westbound in the eastbound lanes of Manning Avenue at a high rate of speed.

Around 5:45 p.m., officers came to the intersection of Manning and De Wolf avenues and saw that the Subaru had crashed into a train passing through the area.

Cruz had collided with the third engine located close to the front of the train, the Sheriff’s Office said.

First responders found Cruz dead inside the car with what appeared to be a gunshot wound.

Detectives recovered a handgun at the crash site.

A preliminary investigation shows that on Saturday, Cruz went to the home in Fowler where his estranged wife was visiting. After spending several hours there, a disturbance took place which resulted in Cruz shooting and killing her relatives, Rafael and Jonathan Garcia.

Cruz had been arrested on May 15 for domestic violence and three other charges. Those three charges were eligible for zero dollar bail, the Sheriff’s Office said, leaving him with a bail amount of $25,000. Cruz posted bond and was released from jail later that same day.

Anyone with additional information should contact Sheriff’s Detective Jose Diaz at (559) 600-8204 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867, www.valleycrimestoppers.org.

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