Would-Be Robber Fatally Shot After Brandishing Fake Gun

A common adage warns against bringing a knife to a gunfight, but authorities in Florida indicate that one would-be robber learned a deadly lesson when he targeted an armed individual carrying a fake firearm.

According to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, two men — Christian MacDonald and Robert Rafael Cruceta Pimentel — planned to meet at a hotel in Davenport late Tuesday night for a drug deal. Upon arriving, however, MacDonald was reportedly ambushed by Cruceta Pimentel and another man, Harold Sepulveda-Cruz, who attempted to rob him.

Sepulveda-Cruz allegedly entered the backseat of MacDonald’s vehicle and pulled out an object intended to resemble a gun. In reality, police say it was a screwdriver and plank of wood taped together.

After pointing the object at MacDonald’s head, Judd said that Sepulveda-Cruz began hitting him with it while demanding drugs and cash. At one point, the victim was reportedly able to grab his handgun and fired 10 times into the rear of the vehicle, killing Sepulveda-Cruz.

Cruceta Pimentel reportedly ditched his drugs and cash over a nearby fence. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of 10 criminal counts including second-degree murder.
Although the investigation remained underway as of the latest updates available, MacDonald had not been charged with a crime.

According to Judd, Cruceta Pimentel had hundreds of dollars in cash with him on the night of the incident and likely could have prevented the bloodshed that ensued.

“If our robber, Harold Cruz, as the information came to us, was high on drugs that night and needing to hit a lick for a quick fix, if his buddy had just loaned him $100, he’d still be alive today,” the sheriff reasoned.

Instead, Judd concluded that Cruceta Pimentel “sat there while Harold got shot over $140 and an eighth of an ounce of marijuana.”

Florida currently has some of the nation’s broadest Second Amendment protections, which makes it a particularly dangerous location for robbery attempts.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law earlier this year to allow concealed carry without a permit.

The bill’s sponsor, GOP state Sen. Jay Collins, celebrated the victory, asserting: “Government will not get in the way of law-abiding Americans who want to defend themselves and their families.”