Lehigh Acres man charged in Christmas Eve fatal gunfire admits to shooting girlfriend

Hilario Jose-Cruz, 23, is free on $220,000 bond on a charge of negligent…

Lehigh Acres man charged in Christmas Eve fatal gunfire admits to shooting girlfriend
Lehigh Acres man charged in Christmas Eve fatal gunfire admits to shooting girlfriend 1

Michael Braun
 
| Fort Myers News-Press

A Lehigh Acres man charged in the Christmas Eve shooting death of his girlfriend told investigators that he shot her after they returned from a family party and after he drank alcohol and smoked marijuana.

Hilario Jose-Cruz, 23, is free on $220,000 bond on a charge of negligent manslaughter and discharging a weapon inside a residence. His arraignment is Jan. 25.

Court documents filed in the case show Jose-Cruz told detectives that he called 911 after shooting his girlfriend sometime before 11:30 p.m.

He also told detectives that he tried to help her and then placed two guns, a 9mm pistol and a .40-caliber handgun, and two loaded 9 mm magazines into a cabinet in the garage at their home in the 5300 block of Butte Street where the couple had been talking.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office confiscated the weapons, a spent 9mm shell casing and one live round.

Jose-Cruz told investigators that he had consumed three alcoholic drinks at his work before 4 p.m. and then more at the family party before driving home with his girlfriend at 10 p.m. During the drive home he said the couple stopped and he purchased a bottle of cognac.

A police report said the couple continued drinking and were listening to music in the garage at their Lehigh Acres home. Jose-Cruz also admitted to smoking marijuana and handling the firearms.

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Jose-Cruz said his girlfriend told him several times to put the guns away and stop handling them or pointing them at her while he danced. He also said he decided to clean one of the guns but no cleaning materials were found, a Sheriff’s Office report said.

He told detectives that he chambered the 9mm pistol and as he placed it on a table he pulled the trigger and the gun discharged, with the round hitting his girlfriend in the chest.

In the Sheriff’s Office report, Jose-Cruz said the music made him feel like holding his guns and he was going to have his girlfriend take a photo of him displaying the weapons.

Investigators confirmed the couple had been in a relationship for five years and had an eight-month-old child together withno prior disturbances or domestic violence reported.

Jose-Cruz’ parents, asleep at the same address, also confirmed the relationship and said they did not hear the gunshot.

Connect with breaking news reporter Michael Braun: MichaelBraunNP (Facebook)@MichaelBraunNP (Twitter) or mbraun@news-press.com.

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