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Washington man charged after allegedly attacking a man with a paring knife

Crime Watch

AMERICAN FALLS — A man police say stabbed another man several times with a paring knife at a motel in American Falls faces a felony charge.

Allen Zoriel Cruz, 23, has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, court records show. The victim suffered stab and slice injuries to his head and shoulder, requiring staples, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

American Falls police and Power County EMS were dispatched to the motel on Pocatello Avenue around 9 p.m. on Sept. 17.

Due to what the affidavit describes as a “language barrier,” little information could be attained by Power County dispatch. Upon arrival, police and EMS were unable to find anyone in need of medical assistance and learned that the incident had actually occurred on the 2700 block of Lakeview Road.

When officers arrived at the second location, they immediately saw two men who “appeared to be covered in blood throughout their entire bodies,” the affidavit says.

As officers pulled into the parking lot of the motel, a third man, later identified as Cruz, ran toward a Jeep. Once inside the front passenger seat of the Jeep, Cruz shut the door. Officers approached the Jeep with guns drawn.

Cruz complied with officers’ commands to place his hands on his head and was removed from the Jeep. Officers noted that Cruz smelled strongly of alcohol.

While Cruz was detained, EMTs began life-saving efforts on a man who had suffered injuries, the extent of which was not yet known by officers.

Officers found Cruz to be suffering from injuries to his eyes and lip. He had fresh, dried blood on his shirtless torso and covering his jeans and boots. Cruz had also been cut on the back of his left hand, according to the affidavit.

Asked for his name, Cruz told officers his first name was Allen but that he did not remember his last name. During questioning, Cruz “began making excited utterances,” the affidavit says. He was telling that the man to whom EMS was tending was “good” and that he had fallen down the stairs.

One officer noted in the affidavit that Cruz “could not regulate his emotions, and would go from being upset to cooperative rapidly.”

As he was being placed in the patrol vehicle, Cruz allegedly asked officers to turn off their body cameras and kill him.

The victim was transported to Power County Hospital by ground ambulance.

EMTs told officers they would be taking Cruz to the hospital as well for examination of injuries he suffered.

While helping hospital staff with a non-compliant Cruz, the original responding officer was informed of surveillance footage of the incident provided by the motel. According to the affidavit, the two men had been involved in a fight in which Cruz was the “primary aggressor.”

During the incident, Cruz stabbed the victim with a knife.

The officer told Cruz he was being arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and that they would not be speaking with him due to his level of intoxication.

Officers continued examining the surveillance footage.

According to the affidavit, Cruz, the victim and a witness were seen walking through a hallway at the motel when Cruz and a witness entered a room. Cruz was in the room only briefly before coming back out and running at the victim carrying something the officers could not immediately identify.

When the victim saw Cruz running at him at full speed, he kicked Cruz in the body then punched him in the face, causing Cruz to fall back onto a handrail. As the two “engage(d) in close-quarters fighting,” the victim is described as bear-hugging Cruz.

Then Cruz was seen holding the item he was carrying in his right hand and making several stabbing motions directed at the victim’s head and body.

Officers then saw a man exit a room near the altercation, grab the item from Cruz and go back inside the room, shutting the door behind him.

As the victim continued arguing with Cruz, officers noted that he was bleeding “heavily” from the back of his head.

Officers spoke with the man seen in the video disarming Cruz. He told officers that he did not want anyone to get injured any worse, so he took a knife from Cruz and locked his room door. He told officers the knife was in the sink.

Officers took what they described as a paring knife for evidence.

The victims’ injuries were not described as life-threatening.

The following day, officers attempted to question Cruz at Power County Jail, but he said he did not want to speak without a lawyer present, and the interview ended.

Though Cruz has been charged with this crime, it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

If he is found guilty, Cruz could face up to 15 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.

Cruz is scheduled for a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Judge Paul Laggis on Sept. 29.

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