A coupe was arrested after allegedly setting homeless man on fire while their three kids watched at the backseat of their SUV.
Albuquerque police arrested Joshua Benavidez, 31, and Irene Enriquez, also 31, on Wednesday for their allegedly throwing fireworks at a homeless man identified as Ruben Abeita, a Native American.
The homeless victim suffered severe burns and remained at an Intensive Care Unit.
The couple’s three children were also present during the attack and witnessed the entire inflammatory incident.
Benavidez and Enriquez were arrested Wednesday, after police received dozens of tips.
Benavidez and Enriquez said weren’t trying to harm the man, but when they learned how badly he had been hurt, they turned themselves in.
“It was just a prank. It was just trying to scare him. That was it,” Benavidez said.
Despite initially denying the crime, surveillance video captured footage of Benavidez’s purple SUV leaving the scene. Benavidez’s son told police he was in the car with his father and Enriquez, as well as Enriquez’s son and a 2-year-old girl, when Benavidez threw the fireworks at the man, according to the warrants cited by the Journal.
When police went to obtain a statement from the boy, he said it was actually his 12-year-old stepbrother and 2-year-old sister who were with him in the car, but did not deny the incident.
Police also discovered that Enriquez saw that the man had caught fire, and wanted to go back and put the flames out with water, but that Benavidez stopped her from doing so.
After being taken into custody on Wednesday, the couple allegedly declined to answer any questions.
At the time of the fireworks incident, Benavidez was already on probation for aggravated assault on a peace officer and tampering with evidence.
The couple faces three counts child abuse, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aggravated battery with great bodily harm, tampering with evidence and conspiracy. They are currently being held on $100,000 bond.