The Orlando Sentinel reports that an Army veteran tried to help a stranded driver who had actually been hired to kill him. Cops initially thought Carlos Cruz-Echevarria had been randomly shot while acting as a good Samaritan when they found his body on the side of the road. As the investigation went on, police discovered the man that Cruz-Echevarria had stopped to help had actually been a hitman who was hired to kill him.
Three people were arrested in connection with the murder, and investigators believe he was targeted in order to prevent the 60-year-old from testifying in court for a road-rage case.
Cruz-Echevarria was shot multiple times near a stolen car on the side of the street in Orlando. His truck had been stolen and was later discovered in Apopka and had been burned.
On May 2, 2017, Cruz-Echevarria was driving in Deltona and he honked at a car that was stopped at a green light. The other driver, Kelsey Terrence McFoley, 28, later pulled up next to him at a different intersection and threatened him with a gun.
Cruz-Echevarria recorded the license number on McFoley’s vehicle and reported it to police. McFoley was arrested on June 1, 2017. He faced significant time in prison because he was a convicted felon and police think he was willing to do anything to avoid it.
Three weeks before the murder, McFoley’s attorney filed a court notice of the planned testimony in court and included Cruz-Echevarria’s home address. Police believe McFoley hired Benjamin Bascom, 24, to kill Cruz-Echevarria. Bascom first tried to find him at his home, but he wasn’t there. He then drove up and down the road waiting for Cruz-Echevarria to come home when he got his vehicle stuck in a ditch.
Cruz-Echevarria then drove up to Bascom and offered help. When he bent over the car, Bascom shot him multiple times in the head.
The road-rage charges against McFoley were dropped, but DNA evidence linked the shooting to Bascom. Phone records linked him to McFoley. McFoley’s girlfriend was also arrested as a co-conspirator in the case.
*Photo credit Volusia County Sheriff’s Office/Orlando Sentinel/TNS