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Dec 20, 2023

Polk County Sheriff's detectives investigating homicide in Davenport

Media Contact: Scott Wilder, Director

Polk County Sheriff's Office detectives are investigating the shooting death of 33-year-old Harold Omar Sepulveda-Cruz (Cruz) of Davenport that occurred in the parking lot of the Tropicana Resort Motel located at 43420 Hwy 27, Davenport, Florida just before midnight on Tuesday, December 19th.

Click here for the news conference regarding this investigation.

Deputies were called to the scene by 44-year-old Christian MacDonald of Davenport, who admitted to shooting and killing Cruz. He told deputies the shooting was in self-defense. MacDonald told deputies that Cruz entered into the back seat of the car that MacDonald and, 31-year-old Robert Cruceta-Pimentel Jr. (Cruceta), were sitting in. MacDonald said Cruz immediately began demanding money and drugs from both of them while threatening to kill them if they did not comply.

MacDonald told deputies that Cruz's demands continued to get more aggressive.

MacDonald told deputies he retrieved a firearm from his jacket pocket, and fired several rounds toward the back seat and the suspect. Cruz was struck in the upper torso. He was deceased when deputies arrived at the scene.

Upon further investigation by deputies, based on interviews and evidence recovered, it became clear that the shooting was a result of an illegal drug transaction that was taking place inside the car and a planned robbery between Cruz and Cruceta.

Earlier in the evening, MacDonald communicated by phone with Cruceta about buying a marijuana from Cruceta. They agreed to meet in the parking lot of the Tropicana Resort Motel to conduct the drug transaction. MacDonald was the buyer, and Cruceta was the drug dealer/seller.

On the way to the drug transaction, Cruceta picked up his friend, Cruz.

Cruceta told deputies that Cruz told him he wanted to get some quick cash and that he wanted to "hit a lick," meaning commit a robbery. Cruceta dropped him off near the hotel and then met MacDonald. MacDonald drove to the location, parked, walked over to Cruceta's car (2017 white Kia) and got inside the front passenger side. Shortly thereafter, Cruz entered into the back passenger seat of the Kia and attempted to commit a robbery using a makeshift simulated firearm, hitting MacDonald in the back several times. He was then shot and killed by MacDonald.

After the shooting, Cruceta is seen on motel surveillance video rummaging in the back seat of the Kia, collecting evidence, taking it, and throwing it over a high fence into a brushy area. Detectives later recovered Cruz's identification, keys, and cellphone on the other side of the fence.

Based on interviews and evidence collected in the investigation, deputies arrested, 31-year-old Robert Rafael Cruceta-Pimentel, Jr. on the following charges:

- Felony Murder (2nd Degree)

- conspiracy to commit robbery

- possession of cannabis with intent to sell

- possession of heroin

- possession of drug paraphernalia

- possession of a controlled substance without a prescription

- Maintaining a vehicle for drug use / sales

- Tampering with physical evidence (x2)

- Provide false information to LEO during investigation

- unlawful use of two-way communication device

"This is another example of how dangerous illegal drug transactions can be. The drug dealer conspired with his friend to commit a robbery that resulted in his friend's death. Now the drug dealer is going to prison. How did that work out for him?" Grady Judd, Sheriff

The investigation is open and continuing.