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Texan who fled to Mexico gets life in prison for ambush murder of Houston security guard in 2015

October 21, 2021

A Texan who murdered a Houston security guard and fled to Mexico, but was later captured and returned, has been convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Friday.

“As the saying goes, ‘You can run, but you can’t hide.’ We are grateful to everyone who had a role in bringing this killer back home to Texas and finally delivering justice for this family,” Ogg said.

Jonathan Vasquez, 27, was convicted of capital murder Thursday and automatically sentenced to life in prison without parole for the robbery and murder of Saul Cruz on December 22, 2015.

Vasquez and Daniel Moreno, 26, who has already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for capital murder, robbed and shot Cruz while he was in his patrol car at 4735 Anderson.

Cruz, who had been a security guard for about a year, was working an overnight shift, when Vasquez and Moreno ambushed him from behind and then ran away, around 4:10 a.m. Both of the men fired at Cruz’s car.

Houston Police officers released surveillance photos and video of the suspects the day of the shooting. Moreno and Vasquez were identified as the suspects shortly thereafter by a tip to Crime Stoppers of Houston. Moreno was arrested six days after the killing by Houston Police homicide detectives.

Vasquez had fled to the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where he was located in 2018, thanks to information obtained by the Webb County Sheriff’s Office deputy, in the Texas city of Laredo.

Mexican authorities then arrested Vasquez, a US citizen, and handed him over at the bridge over the Rio Grande to waiting members of the US Marshals Service Violent Offenders Task Force.

The elderly security guard had emigrated from El Salvador and worked for years as a mechanic and at other jobs despite his dream of being a police officer. When he finally got his U.S. citizenship, he was too old to be a regular law enforcement officer, Instead, he got a job as a security guard to help out where he could.

“We stand behind all of our first responders, our law enforcement officers, and security guards as they tackle some of the toughest jobs in our community,” Ogg said.

Assistant District Attorney Dave Brucker, who prosecuted the case with ADA Natalia Leon, said the evidence showed this was a senseless and sad criminal episode.

“It’s incredibly senseless, because these two men were trying to rob him of a handgun and it’s so sad because of the loss of life , the loss to his entire the family,” Brucker said after the verdict.