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La Placita Shooting: Four years after tragedy, the memory of Jose Cruz lives on

Published: May. 6, 2021 at 1:44 AM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - March 17, 2017 changed some lives forever, a day in which a father was taken too soon.

Jose Cruz was shot and killed during a robbery at La Placita on Morgantown Road.

“When I heard that, I definitely was, I was pretty distraught,” said Kimberly Quintanilla, the daughter of the owner of La Placita.

Now four years later, several people have been convicted in connection to the murder and robbery.

“Even though there’s been a guilty verdict, you know, there’s so many lives that have been negatively affected by this incident,” said Quintanilla.

Back in 2017, two men entered the store, showed a gun and demanded money. As the men were leaving, 31-year-old Jose Cruz tried to enter the store to pick up his son. Cruz confronted the robbers, a fight ensued and one of the men pulled a gun and shot Cruz.

Quintanilla adds, “The ones who, you know, are affected the most are ultimately his children and they’re completely innocent in this situation, and that it breaks my heart for them and their families.

She also says the death of Jose Cruz is something that will affect his children forever.

“At the end of the day, they don’t have their dad to watch them grow up and be their role model. So even though justice has been served in the judicial sense, I mean, there will never be justice for these families,” said Quintanilla.

Multiple people have been charged in connection to a string of robberies that includes La Placita, and also for their role in the death of Cruz. Quintanilla says the death of Cruz is something that is very present for his family.

“They still think about that on a daily basis, it’s not something that’s gone away, it’s not something that they’ve forgotten about, or gotten over, you know, and, and it breaks, it breaks my heart, it really does,” says Quintanilla.

As time has passed, the wounds continue to heal. Quintanilla says changes are coming including moving La Placita a couple of streets over.

“The best part of being on that side of town is the community of people around there, because even though you know, it may not be considered the most safe, I know the families that live in that area, and many of them are our customers and they’re such good people. We are always going to be holding Jose in our hearts and this has changed our lives forever,” said Quintanilla.

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