Crime

Nathan Valdez Second Person Busted in Tim Cruz's RTD Light-Rail Station Murder

The latest booking photo for Nathan Valdez.
The latest booking photo for Nathan Valdez. Denver Police Department
Update: Nathan Valdez, the nineteen-year-old wanted for the killing of Tim Cruz, 32, at the 12th and Sheridan light-rail station on February 7, has been taken into custody. He is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder.

The Denver Police Department tweeted about Valdez's capture at 8:43 p.m. on Friday, February 10, on the evening of our previous report, on view below.

The DPD also shared the booking photo above, featuring Valdez in a Denver Broncos jersey.

Thus far, no details about Valdez's arrest have been released. He is the second person busted in the Cruz homicide. Previously jailed was Ever Valles, also nineteen, who told investigators that Valdez killed Cruz without apparent provocation during a robbery attempt.


Continue for our earlier coverage.

click to enlarge A Facebook photo of Ever Valles. - FACEBOOK
A Facebook photo of Ever Valles.
Facebook
Original post, 5:51 a.m. February 10: Early on February 7, around two weeks after RTD officials told us that its buses, trains and properties were safer than ever despite recent high-profile crimes, including a stabbing and an assault, 32-year-old Tim Cruz was shot to death at the 12th and Sheridan light-rail station. Now, one man, nineteen-year-old Ever Valles, has been arrested in relation to the slaying, and a second, Nathan Valdez, also nineteen, is wanted for the crime. According to the report on view below, police learned about Valdez's alleged participation from Valles, who says the wanted man fired a shot at him after saying, "You saw too much."

In a Westword interview about RTD safety, spokesman Scott Reed touted the impressive quality of video being used by the agency, and such footage was indeed part of the investigation.

However, the information that led to the arrest of Valles and the naming of Valdez as a suspect came from a different source.

According to the aforementioned arrest affidavit, detectives with the Denver Police Department were notified about a homicide at the light-rail station at around 2 a.m. on the 7th. The Denver coroner's office notes that the victim, Cruz, was pronounced dead at the scene. The manner of his death was a gunshot wound.

click to enlarge The late Tim Cruz. - FACEBOOK
The late Tim Cruz.
Facebook
The report points out that the station had "numerous video surveillance cameras" and that "the murder was recorded on video."

RTD transit police quickly provided DPD investigators with a copy of this material, which showed two suspects.

"One suspect wore a black half-face mask with a white-colored backpack and the other suspect had a half-face mask that appeared to be a skull lower-jaw-with-teeth print and a dark colored backpack," the affidavit recounts. "The suspect wearing a solid black mask and white backpack was armed with a large handgun."

The narrative adds that both suspects could be seen searching the victim's jacket and taking away items, after which "the suspect with the black mask grabbed the victim, walked him several feet away from the victim's belongings and shot and killed the victim. There were no witnesses."

Metro Denver Crimestoppers subsequently released the following image of the suspects.

An RTD surveillance photo of the suspects. - METRO DENVER CRIME STOPPERS
An RTD surveillance photo of the suspects.
Metro Denver Crime Stoppers
The masks worn by the suspects made identification challenging. But on February 8, the report reveals, a confidential informant came to Denver police headquarters and "provided details about possible suspects."

This individual said he had been with the two suspects the previous week, and at that time, they'd been wearing the same outfits as they were on the night in question. The person identified one of the men as "Ever" and showed a detective the former's Facebook page, featuring the image at the top of this post.

Valles was also in the DPD's database, and after getting ID confirmation from the tipster, members of the department's fugitive unit took the suspect into custody on a parole violation. The report says that after being read his rights, Valles spoke to a detective. In the beginning, he is said to have denied any involvement in the incident before acknowledging that he had been at the scene. He said Valdez was the one who'd actually killed Cruz, but he admitted to "checking the victim's coat pockets prior to the shooting because he was afraid that Nathan might shoot him. Valles did not know why Nathan shot the victim."

Later in the affidavit, Valles is quoted as saying that as the men ran away, Valdez pointed his gun at his partner and uttered the line, "You saw too much." Valles responded by pleading for his life, then running away, at which point Valdez allegedly fired. The bullet grazed his hip, Valles said, and the report confirms that there was a "bullet wound on Valles's left hip and a linear bruise leading to another bullet wound on his left buttock."

At this point, Valles is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, while Crimestoppers has put out an alert on Valdez, who's considered to be armed and dangerous. An award up to $2,000 is being offered for information leading to Valdez's capture. For more information, phone 720-913-STOP (7867).

Continue to see booking photos of Valdez and Valles, followed by the affidavit.

click to enlarge Nathan Valdez. - DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT
Nathan Valdez.
Denver Police Department
click to enlarge Ever Valles. - DENVER POLICE DEPARTMENT
Ever Valles.
Denver Police Department

Ever Valles Arrest Affidavit


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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts