Fla. deputy arrived just in time to stop knife-wielding man

By Brian Haas
The Sun-Sentinel

TAMARAC, Fla. By the time Deputy Gregory Stanley arrived at the Tamarac home, a knife-wielding man had already stabbed two people.

Stanley had been praised by his superiors at the Sheriff's Office in mostly above-average yearly reviews for his cool under fire. On Sunday, he needed it.

That morning, Stanley shot and killed Mario Cruz, 27, after authorities say Cruz attacked his ex-girlfriend and her roommate before charging the deputy with knives. Stanley, 34, has a clean record at the Sheriff's Office, according to his personnel file. He is on paid leave, as is routine when deputies are involved in shootings.

The dispute began about 6 a.m. when Maria Borrero, 21, called 911 to complain that Cruz, her former boyfriend, was outside her home in the 7100 block of Southgate Boulevard, banging on windows and refusing to leave. Borrero was calm at first, the 911 recording shows.

"He's not welcome to my house and he knows that. He was trying to get into my house and he's not letting me or my roommates sleep," Borrero told a dispatcher. "He's knocking on my windows. I've been telling him to leave for the past hour and he hasn't been listening."

Borrero then calmly added, "And I'm sure he might be violent."

As the call went on, the noise in the background intensified. The dispatcher asked if it was Cruz making the noise.

Then there was a huge crash.

"Oh my God, he just broke my window!" Borrero yelled.

The recording becomes chaotic as Borrero can be heard yelling at Cruz to leave. She screamed.

"He has a knife, he has a knife and he's just stabbing me!" Borrero yelled to the dispatcher. "Ma'am, he just stabbed us."

Her last words to the dispatcher were pleas for help: "Oh my God, help, help ... please we need help! Help!"

When Stanley arrived, authorities say Cruz was chasing Borrero with two knives in his hands. The Sheriff's Office said Stanley ordered Cruz to stop and drop the weapons, but he ignored the order and charged at the deputy. Stanley fired, killing Cruz.

Borrero and her roommate, Kavon Lee Nikfar, 29, were critically wounded. Borrero has since been released from the hospital. Officials at North Broward Medical Center had no information on Nikfar's status.

The shooting of Cruz was the fourth fatal police shooting in Broward County this year, all of which have involved the Sheriff's Office.

Copyright 2007 Sentinel Communications Company

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