Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

SMPD Arrest in 2017 Party Bus Shooting of De'Ommie de la Cruz

She was shot because she was helping others get back on the bus

Over a year after the fatal shooting of a young woman on a party bus and the shooting injuries of four others, the Santa Monica Police have arrested a man as a person of interest. Camron Aaron Lee, 22, a resident of Los Angeles has been booked for murder, according to Lt. Saul Rodriguez of the SMPD. Lee has three prior felony and one misdemeanor arrests.

Lee is the first arrest made in this party-bus murder, a situation which was highly publicized at the time.

The shooting occurred early in the morning of November 3, 2017. The victim, 28-year-old De'Ommie de la Cruz was on a Lion Limousine Corp. bus in order to celebrate the birthday of a friend. When the passengers asked for a bathroom break just before 1 a.m., the driver pulled over in the vicinity of Ocean Avenue and the Santa Monica Pier.

According to a lawsuit filed last November by friends and relatives of De'Ommie, the women on the bus were hesitant to get off once they saw men from another bus, who they thought appeared to be gang members. But when the driver warned them he would not make any more restroom stops, they exited the bus.

According to the lawsuit, De'Ommie de la Cruz and her friends were returning to their bus when an altercation broke out between the passengers of the two buses. Shots were fired.

In an interview shortly after the shooting, De'Ommie's mother, Tomeika de la Cruz, said she believed her daughter was shot because she was helping others get back on the bus during the fracas. De'Ommie was reportedly a school bus driver and a former security guard.

Three victims from the bus were struck and a fourth person on the street. The suspects reportedly jumped a railing toward the cliff above the Pacific Coast Highway.

Following the shooting, the bus driver drove three gunshot victims to the Santa Monica police headquarters. The victims were then taken to an area hospital, where De'Ommie de la Cruz died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Lt. Saul Rodriguez of SMPD told the LA Times in an interview at the time that he thought it possible that various members of the two buses recognized each other. "Like they've known each other from some prior run-in possibly."

The plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against the City of Santa Monica and the bus company include the deceased woman's mother, her brother, sister-in-law, and her two-year-old daughter. Also suing for emotional distress are five passengers from the bus.


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