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ICE, Bellevue murders, Auburn murder, South Park
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Murder of South Park man in his sleep was preventable, according to ICE

High-security inmates at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. The red uniforms indicate that the detainee has been convicted of a violent crime. (Nicole Jennings/KIRO Radio)

A man who allegedly gunned down a South Park man in his own bed last week is in the country illegally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has announced.

According to Seattle police, Julio Cruz-Velasquez, 25, targeted the wrong South Park home and shot 56-year-old Sam Lam in his sleep.

Cruz-Velasquez is now behind bars — but Bryan Wilcox, deputy acting field director for ICE’s Seattle office, said that he should have been in the custody of federal law enforcement long ago.

“He is illegally in the United States, he came into the United States sometime after 2000,” Wilcox told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show.

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That year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection contacted Cruz-Velasquez, a child at the time, on the southern border with a group of other people who had entered the country illegally. The group returned home to Mexico, but Cruz-Velasquez reentered the U.S. at a later date.

Now an adult, Cruz-Velasquez has been arrested and jailed on multiple occasions, convicted of crimes such as felony assault and vehicle prowling, as KOMO 4 reported. However, as his adult years have also coincided with the implementation of sanctuary policies in the Puget Sound, law enforcement agencies have not contacted ICE or honored ICE’s detainers.

“Had [King] County called us and told us that they were getting ready to release this guy, we would have gone to the jail and picked him up, taken him into ICE custody,” Wilcox said.

Locked out of criminal databases since sanctuary took hold, ICE has to rely on public information, such as jail rosters, to find out which people in criminal custody might be illegal immigrants.

Wilcox said that this is another clear case of a shooting — following two other killings this year in Bellevue and Auburn — that never would have happened if not for sanctuary policies.

“Absolutely it could have been prevented,” Wilcox stated. “Had King County honored our detainer and just [given] us notification, made a phone call … he would not have been on the streets to commit this horrific crime.”

Lam, the South Park man shot in his bed, was a legal immigrant to the United States. Ironically, Wilcox said, laws protecting immigrants like Cruz-Velasquez from being deported led to another immigrant from being murdered.

“Politics continues to prevail over public safety,” Wilcox said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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