ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Police arrested two parents on Wednesday for setting a homeless man on fire. Albuquerque Police said the pair brought their kids along for the ride, and it was all caught on camera nearly two weeks ago.
Police said they got lots of tips from neighbors after the surveillance video made the news but what finally led to the arrest was one of the kids telling his babysitter that he and two other children were in the SUV when it happened.
APD arrested Joshua Benavidez, 31, and Irene Enriquez, 31 on charges of child abuse and aggravated battery. Enriquez mumbled, “I’m sorry,” when asked about the homeless man whose pants caught on fire near Highland High School.
Surveillance video shows fireworks being thrown out the window of a purple SUV.
They hit a homeless man asleep on the curb.
The SUV is pretty recognizable, and neighbors immediately called it in.
However, police said Benavidez repeatedly denied owning it or having anything to do with lighting a homeless man on fire.
He denied it until, police said, his 10-year-old son told a babysitter he was in the SUV during it all.
Since then, police said the pair has confessed, saying they were just driving around throwing out fireworks.
“Fireworks are meant to enjoy and watch and instead they took it to a whole new realm,” said APD Ofc. Daren DeAguero. “It was a disgusting act. They caught somebody on fire, and then they ran from it.”
Police said the parents pulled into a nearby parking lot when they saw the homeless man’s pants on fire.
They said Enriquez wanted to put the fire out with water but that Benavidez wouldn’t let her out of the SUV.