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Santos Garcia and Sonia Cruz

2013 Special Courage Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Santos Garcia and Sonia Cruz | Special Courage Award
Washington, DC

Sonia Cruz and Santos Garcia, store employees, were witnesses to a gun-point robbery at Lida Wholesale Market in Washington, D.C., on June 23, 2010. Ms. Cruz and Mr. Garcia were just feet away when the perpetrator shot and killed the store’s owner, Ming-Kun Chih, and his son. 

After witnessing these gruesome murders, Ms. Cruz and Mr. Garcia followed the armed gunman out of the store and got the license plate number of the car he was driving, which was traced to the gunman’s mother. They then returned to the store and attempted to revive Mr. Chih. Due to the bravery of Ms. Cruz and Mr. Garcia, critical evidence was obtained. They met with the police, giving full statements the day of the murders, and testified before the grand jury and again at trial. 

Throughout the course of the investigation and trial, Ms. Cruz and Mr. Garcia were compelling witnesses who did not hesitate to offer their assistance. Although they were both severely traumatized by this event, they appeared at the defendant’s sentencing to ensure that justice was achieved. 

On August 23, 2012, the murderer was sentenced to 80 years of incarceration. Both Ms. Cruz and Mr. Garcia continue to help the surviving members of the Chih family, working at the Lida Wholesale Market to keep the business open and thriving in a community that was deeply affected by these crimes.