Police investigating teen's claim of more assaults on homeless

Updated: 07/22/2014 7:06 PM | Created: 07/22/2014 7:01 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Police are reaching out to homeless shelters around Albuquerque and trying to encourage anyone who has been attacked by three teenagers to come forward.

But at this point, police said they have not received reports of any other assaults linked to these teens.

Joy Junction founder and CEO Jeremy Reynalds visited the spot where police say the three teens beat two homeless men to death with bricks, sticks and metal poles. A third victim survived after escaping the attack.

"Absolutely horrendous," Reynalds said. "You can't think of any worse way to die."

If the teens also beat up other homeless people in the past, Reynalds says there is a good reason why it would go unreported. Many homeless people don't trust police.

"If you've been beaten up or abused, why are you going to go forward to the people you hate or fear," Reynalds said.

The Bernalillo County district attorney said 18-year-old Alex Rios, 16-year-old Nathaniel Carrillo and 15-year-old Gilbert Tafoya all face life in prison if convicted of first degree murder charges. The two youngest teens will be tried as serious youthful offenders.

"And that means if you're between the ages of 15 to 18 and you're charged with first degree homicide, they will be tried and treated as adults," District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said.

People are leaving flowers for the two victims at the spot where they were murdered. They haven't been positively identified. Reynalds says the community can all play a part in making sure other homeless people get help if they need it.

"If you see a homeless person in obvious distress, please don't walk by," he said.

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