Suspect in Killings Inspired by ‘The Purge,’ Officials Say

Indianapolis police have alleged that a 19-year-old man accused of three murders was inspired by Universal’s franchise “The Purge.”

According to court documents, Johnathan Cruz told a juvenile informant on May 15 that he had been “Purging,” referring to the premise of the horror film series “The Purge.” The films are set in a near-future in which the U.S. government designates a 12-hour period where all crimes, including murder, are legal.

“KM stated that that Jonathan Cruz told her about shooting and robbing several people,” the affidavit from Det. Brian Schemenaur said. “Cruz told her he had been ‘Purging.’ ‘Purging’ was in reference to the 2013 American action horror film ‘The Purge’ in which the United States government sanctioned an event in which all crimes to include rape, murder, arson, assault and theft is legal from 7 pm to 7 am the next day.”

KM also told Schemenaur that Cruz told her that he had shot a man in the back of the head and neck area two times, had seen him with a black .22 caliber revolver and had seen him with bloody clothing, according to the affidavit. The document also said Cruz had attempted to show her a video on his phone of the shooting, in which she heard gunshots and saw a body fall.

Schemenaur said that the details of KM’s account, given at police headquarters, were consistent with the the murders of Billy Boyd and Jay Higginbotham on May 12. Cruz is also accused of the May 15 murder of Joe Ruiz.

“The Purge” was Blumhouse’s first production in 2013 under its first-look deal with Universal. The sci-fi thriller, starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”), became a major success, earning $89 million globally on a $3 million budget.

The second installment, “The Purge: Anarchy,” took in $108 million worldwide. Jason Blum is producing again along with Sebastien Lemercier and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form.

Universal and Blumhouse declined to comment Thursday  in response.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in the probable cause affidavit that the four-day spree is affiliated with criminal gang activity. He said at a news conference Wednesday that the victims appeared to be chosen at random and that no decision about seeking the death penalty would take place for at least 30 days.

After Curry announced the charges against Cruz, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett released a statement: “Senseless acts of violence such as those alleged in this case are incomprehensible, but thanks to the swift actions of IMPD detectives, Prosecutor Terry Curry and witnesses willing to come forward, we are one step closer to providing answers for these victims’ families.”

The third iteration of the franchise, “The Purge: Election Year,” opens July 1 with Elizabeth Mitchell starring as a U.S. Senator running for president on a pledge to end The Purge.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Noele trailer Anna Kendrick

    Disney Unveils 'Noelle' Trailer Starring Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader

    Among the many announcements at the D23 Expo, Disney debuted the first look at holiday feature “Noelle,” which is set to premiere exclusively on Disney Plus this fall. “It isn’t Christmas without Santa’s Sister,” Walt Disney Studios said of the film on Twitter. Starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, the Christmas flick tells the story [...]

  • A Hidden Life Movie Austria

    Film News Roundup: Austin Festival Selects Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    In today’s film news roundup, the Austin Film Festival selects a Terrence Malick title, “A Day Without a Mexican” gets a sequel and DCR Finance signs a first-look deal. FESTIVAL SCREENING The Austin Film Festival will screen Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” which won the Francois Chalais and Ecumenical Jury awards at the Cannes Film [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Moved Back to 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved the release date of Blake Lively’s “The Rhythm Section” back two months from Nov. 22 to Jan. 31, 2020, the weekend of Super Bowl LIV. The spy tale, adapted from Mark Burnell’s novels surrounding character Stephanie Patrick, is produced by James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson through their [...]

  • The Mandalorian

    'The Mandalorian': Watch the First Trailer for 'Star Wars' Series

    The gunslinging lone warrior — the Mandalorian, as they call him — calls the far reaches of the “Star Wars” galaxy home. Disney dropped the first trailer for the spinoff series during its biennial D23 convention on Friday, finally giving fans a closer look at the franchise’s newest character. “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau, who [...]

  • Lady and the Tramp trailer

    'Lady and the Tramp': Disney's Live-Action Remake Gets First Trailer (Watch)

    Ready your dog-friendly bowl of spaghetti, Disney has debuted the first trailer for its live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux. The teaser was released during Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim at the Disney + presentation. In addition to Thompson and Theroux, who play the Lady and Tramp, respectively, [...]

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    'Angel Has Fallen' to Dominate Modest Box Office With $20 Million Weekend

    Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are leading the way at the North American box office with “Angel Has Fallen” on its way to about $20 million, early estimates showed Friday. Should forecasts hold, “Angel Has Fallen” will take in about double the next title, Universal’s second weekend of raunchy comedy “Good Boys” with about $10 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content