A minister and his family members who were caught on body camera video attacking Lilburn police officers on Sunday are facing felony charges stemming from the incident.
Wilmer R. Cruz, 38, Cristina Cruz, 37, their 17-year-old son who is also named Wilmer Cruz and their 16-year-old son were charged with obstruction of law enforcement, aggravated assault against law enforcement, obstruction of a 911 call and other charges after they were “repeatedly instructed to stand back” from speaking with a missing juvenile who police had located in a tan Cadillac Escalade near Inglesia Cristiana Evangelica Church on Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn.
Officers responded to the church around 2:30 p.m. after receiving a call that the mother of a 16-year-old runaway girl had located her with the 17-year-old Cruz.
When police arrived, they saw the girl in the Cruz’s car, though according to an incident report, the 17-year-old Cruz told police he would not let the girl out of the car.
As the officers walked up to the car, the Cruz teen began “sizing (them) up” while blocking the officers from getting to the car, the report said.
A crowd of people, including the husband and wife, began surrounding the officers and grabbed at them, the report said.
At one point, Wilmer Cruz Sr. and the 17-year-old Cruz pushed one of the officers against the church’s glass, choking him until the officer could regain control, the report said, and at another point, Cristina Cruz grabbed the officer’s taser and pointed it at him until he drew his gun.
The group was also kicking and grabbing the officers, who eventually called for backup and were able to regain control of the situation, though not before at least one officer used all his taser cartridges, to no avail.
The Cruz family is currently being held without bond at the Gwinnett County Jail. It was not immediately known from reports what relationship they had with the runaway teen.