The accused murderer of four people in Indianapolis is blaming a filmed work of fiction for his crimes, it was sort-of reported today.
According to the Indianapolis Star and a growing number of entertainment news sites, 19-year-old Jonathan Cruz is blaming his four-day killing spree on the futuristic crime thriller The Purge, a 2013 film built around the premise that in the near future, all crime – including murder - will be legal for a period of 12 hours, one day per year. The film spawned two sequels and will for the next few days be invariably linked to Cruz' alleged crimes over and over in the media.
Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett lauded police in their actions, crediting them with “swift actions” that resulted in the arrest of Cruz on May 16th. The police were also swift to join the press and their own suspect in blaming the modestly-budgeted Ethan Hawke vehicle for inspiring the homicidal teen’s crimes.
A cursory investigation into the facts of the case reveals that the basis for blaming Blumhouse Studios' sleeper hit for Cruz’ violent, four-day spree seems to be relegated to the alleged killer using the word “purge” at some point during his extended rampage of robbery, assault and murder, some of which he recorded on his mobile phone.
Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson briefly flirted with reason in a statement, saying “I can't get into his mind, but he certainly used the movie as at least his excuse or justification when he was recording himself committing these acts."
By erroneously referring to writer-director James DeMarco’s dystopian nightmare as Cruz’ “inspiration,” the media and local law enforcement have caused the story to explode online, despite evidence which points to Cruz’ crimes as actually being gang-related, and despite Cruz’ clear disregard for the Purge rules clearly laid out across three films and countless trailers.
Additionally, as the first Purge is largely a home-invasion thriller, it’s likely that the film Cruz and police meant to blame was the 2014 follow-up, The Purge: Anarchy. Indianapolis law enforcement did not respond to a request on Twitter for clarification as of this writing.