Cruz Receives 42-Year Sentence After Violent Altercation With Police Officers
By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Milford man received a 42-year sentence after a violent altercation with police officers during an August 2020 incident at a Warsaw laundromat.
Miguel Enrique Delfin Cruz, 28, 109 S. Henry St., Milford, was sentenced in Kosciusko Circuit Court on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
He was found guilty on Jan. 17, following a bench trial on charges of criminal confinement, a level 2 felony; criminal confinement, a level 3 felony; battery on a public safety official, intimidation with a deadly weapon, carrying a handgun without a license with a sentence enhancement, and two counts of disarming a law enforcement officer, all level 5 felonies; and resisting law enforcement, intimidation, and two counts of pointing a firearm, all level 6 felonies.
Prior to the trial, Cruz pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine, a level 5 felony; carrying a handgun without a license, a class A misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a class C misdemeanor.
At sentencing, officers from local law enforcement agencies filled the courtroom, attending in support of the two officers. Represented agencies included Warsaw Police Department, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office and Winona Lake Police Department.
Both officers who were injured in the altercation with Cruz presented victim impact statements. The first officer who spoke was employed with WPD at the time of the incident but now works for a different local law enforcement agency.
“That date will always be ingrained in my head,” said the officer. “I’ll never forget that day. Some days I’m able to cope, but sometimes I still wake up in the middle of the night, sweating, screaming and yelling. Yet by God’s grace we all made it out alive. I took a lot of negative criticism from my peers on how I reacted (during the incident) and that still follows me around. Words can’t describe my helplessness at the time … to shoot or not to shoot while a gun was to my partner’s head.”
The female officer who was battered by Cruz then delivered her statement, recalling the details of Aug. 5, 2020.
“Miguel, you violently assaulted me as I fought to break your grip, the grip of a male at least 1 1/2 times my size who was trained in wrestling and high on methamphetamine,” said the officer. “Once restrained, you were escorted to a patrol car. You and I shared a moment I will never forget. You looked into my eyes and said, ‘I should’ve f****** killed you!’ Your words showed no remorse. They were your last attempt to destroy me. Instead, they only made me stronger. You chose to attack a warrior with the heart of a lion.”
She also recalled the physical, mental and emotional toll the altercation with Cruz took on her. The officer told Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed she attended occupational therapy and intense individual post-traumatic stress disorder therapy sessions after the August 2020 incident.
Continuing in her statement, the officer focused on Cruz’s behavior during the bench trial, saying Cruz “gave a disingenuous apology and refused to take responsibility for his actions, actions that have irrefutably upended my life, and chose to instead blame them on being high.”
“I do not believe Miguel has come to a place of repentance, as shown by his own continued behavior,” said the officer. “He continued to fight while incarcerated. He did not comply with probation … and he made finger guns under the table at trial, pointed the finger gun toward those on the stand and motioned pulling the trigger. Those seem to be signs of someone fantasizing about a chance to do it all again. Miguel, I want to make it very clear to you. You don’t own me. I am not your victim. I am a warrior and forever a fighter. I am not the darkness I endured. I am the light that refused to surrender.”
After the impact statements, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dan Hampton said there were no mitigators within the case and noted Cruz’s prior criminal history. He asked Reed to consider the seriousness of the crimes, Cruz’s lack of remorse, the need for rehabilitation, and continued acts of violence by Cruz as aggravators. Hampton said Cruz admitted to engaging in several fights while incarcerated in KCJ and also said past rehabilitation programs such as probation have not worked.
Hampton requested a 40-year sentence, followed by extensive time on probation.
Defense Attorney Randall Hammond said two of Cruz’s relatives were in the courtroom in support of Cruz. He requested a sentence that recognized the harm caused to the two officers but also focused on rehabilitation for Cruz.
In total, including a 10-year sentence enhancement, Cruz received a 38-year sentence at the Indiana Department of Correction, and four years on probation. Cruz has been incarcerated at KCJ since the August 2020 incident.
Cruz must also pay $496 in restitution to the female officer and $2,657.55 in restitution to the Indiana Public Employers’ Plan, all for medical expenses the female officer incurred after the incident.
Hammond said Cruz intends to appeal the sentence with the assistance of a public defender.
On Aug. 5, 2020, officers responded to a report of a threat to life at Quick Clean Laundry in Warsaw. After confirming Cruz was illegally in possession of a handgun, two Warsaw Police officers attempted to take Cruz into custody. A physical altercation occurred, with Cruz pointing his firearm at one of the officer’s heads and battering her. Both officers sustained scrapes, cuts and bruises to their arms. The officer Cruz battered with a firearm was taken to a local hospital but was released soon after.
As Cruz was being taken to the Kosciusko County Jail, Cruz said he should have killed the female officer.