'I don't hate you': Drug dealer who nearly killed Grafton police officer sentenced to 35 years

Grafton police officer Lucas Campoverde hopes the drug dealer who shot him can find "peace."

FARGO — Grafton Police officer Lucas Campoverde walked into the federal courthouse hoping for closure from an event that changed his life forever.

"It's something I can't control and can't change, I am learning to live and deal with it," Campoverde said.

Last August, Campoverde went to arrest 38-year -old Ruben Cruz at his home behind the police station on drug charges. Cruz ran and started shooting.

Campoverde was shot in the chest. His partner, Officer Casey Jones, then shot Cruz. The 23-year-old Campoverde still deals with flashbacks from that day.

"All the time, any officer involved in that will attest to that, it's a daily thing, you just learn to live with it," Campoverde said.


Cruz cut a plea deal with prosecutors. They would argue for no more than 30 years. In court, Cruz's lawyer felt 25 years was enough.

Before the judge decided, Cruz apologized to Campoverde, who has permanent nerve damage to his hand, making it nearly impossible for him to do his favorite thing in life -- play the guitar.

"I want to apologize to Officer Campoverde for the suffering, the pain to him and his family (...) if I wasn't under the influence of methamphetamine, this would have never happened," Cruz said in court.

Campoverde broke down when it was his turn to address the court, causing Cruz to cry and say he was sorry once again.

"I feel my chest getting hit by a round, my lung collapsing, telling my best friend I was going to die. I don't hate you as a person, but I hate your decision that night," Campoverde said.

Judge Peter Welte called Cruz's lengthy criminal history, "alarming." He felt in the interest of public safety, the plea deal was too light. He sentenced Cruz to prison for 35 years. Cruz's lawyer objected to the longer sentence; he has two weeks to decide if he will appeal.

"You have the choice to alter your life after incarceration, Officer Campoverde doesn't," said Welte. "You took that from him, you imposed a life sentence on him."

Thanks to those who supported him over the past year, Campoverde has returned to the force, but due to the nerve injury, he must be supervised while on patrol.


"Support groups, caring family, caring friends, the community, it makes it easier, it's never not there, but it makes it easier," Campoverde said.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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