Photo: Gomez Saladin at the ATM
The 32-year-old advertising executive killed last week after being forced to withdraw $500 from an Automatic Teller Machine was beaten to death with metal pipes, Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia newspaper said Wednesday
The murder of Jose Enrique Gomez Saladin in suburban San Juan has stunned Puerto Rican society and popular horror over the crime is growing as more details emerge.
“We are all Jose Enrique,” singer Ricky Martin said Wednesday in a Facebook posting that included a photo of the victim.
Gomez Saladin pleaded for his life, but the assailants doused him with gasoline, set him on fire and battered him with pipes, El Nuevo Dia said, citing a statement to police by suspect Edwin Torres.
The story began last Thursday night, when Torres was at his home with Lenisse Aponte Aponte, Alejandra Berrios Cotto and Ruben Delgado Ortiz.
After Torres told his friends he needed money for rent, the four set out for a red-light district in Caguas, where they were apparently picked up by Gomez Saladin.
The quartet wrested control of the vehicle away from Gomez Saladin and ultimately drove to a bridge near a derelict prison, where the killing took place.
The victim’s card in hand, one of the two male assailants later went back to the same ATM where they forced Gomez Saladin to withdraw money.
The suspect’s face was captured by the security camera. Puerto Rican media circulated the image and the man was recognized by his own mother, who promptly turned him in.
His statements led police to the other three suspects and all four were handed over to federal authorities.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mariana Bauza has charged the four with carjacking resulting in death and bank fraud.