SUNRISE (CBSMiami) — For the first time, internationally-known Jamaican reggae singer and entertainer Anthony Cruz is speaking out about the murder of his 15-year-old daughter and her mother at their home in Sunrise.
Cruz, who came to South Florida from Kingston, Jamaica, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench in an exclusive interview, “She means the world to me. She was my only daughter and I love her endlessly.”
On Monday, police responded to the townhouse where 15-year-old Shanice Smith lived with her 40-year-old mother Karen Lyle. Detectives say they were shot and killed by Kevin Nelson.
Police said they had been called to the home at Del Rio Village off University Drive just north of Oakland Park Boulevard numerous times for domestic complaints.
Family members told CBS4 they were a troubled couple. Cruz said his daughter had a lot of promise.
“She was a very bright and smart girl. She was a straight A student, she was amazing,” he said. “I watched her grow up and I supported her in ever way. I would buy things for her in Jamaica and do what I could for her. I would work hard to send her money and take her shopping when I could.”
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.
“It seems like there was ongoing domestic violence, neighbors say,” said Cruz. “They were always fighting and stuff but that still doesn’t give you the right or reason to pull out a gun and shoot somebody. And then to shoot a child who is not even your child? She is somebody else’s child. It seems unfair. It is just not right.”
Cruz said these violent confrontations are happening far too frequently.
“We as a people need to get it together,” he said. “When you look at the news, I am tired of seeing gun violence in the ghetto and in the inner city. It’s crazy. We can not live like that.”
Cruz is now left with one child: a son.
“It’s very painful. It is very painful to watch it and lose a family member. It is just crazy. I personally am against domestic violence and against these crimes. I would like to say to my people we have got to stop and realize that people who did this are disconnected from God. If you were connected, you would not do things like that,” he said. “Even if you argue, and everyone is human, you can fight and fight until you run out of breath. But don’t take somebody’s life.”
Cruz plans to take his daughter’s body back to Jamaica. And he said for her sake and others, he would devote his life to speaking out against crimes against women and children.