An AutoZone employee killed in a carjacking outside his workplace late Wednesday was slashed on the head with a machete during the attack, a newly-filed court record indicates.
Timothy Abriola, 66, was struck "in the head with a machete an unknown number of times" and also was stabbed with a knife before his attackers packed him into the back seat of his own car and drove off, said an interim criminal complaint filed early Friday in Pima County Justice Court.
The complaint, filed by Tucson Police Department, offers the first detailed public account of how the victim is believed to have died and how his body was found.
One of the two suspects arrested in the case forfeited his right to remain silent and has provided police with in-depth information on how the incident unfolded, the complaint indicated.
The suspect told police that prior to the attack, he and the other suspect hung around outside watching the victim work inside the AutoZone on South 12th Avenue and West Irvington Road.
When the victim closed the store near midnight and tried to get in his car, the attackers told him to hand over the keys and get on the ground. That's when the machete attack occurred, the complaint said.
It isn't entirely clear from the complaint whether one or both men are accused of striking the machete blows, in part because the document was redacted for public release.
The suspect who cooperated with police gave up the location of where the victim's body was dumped, and authorities located the victim's remains in the desert near San Xavier Mission, the complaint said
Eric Reino and Isaiah Franko, both 22, have been booked into the Pima County jail on suspicion of murder, robbery and kidnapping in the connection of Abriola’s killing, Sgt. Pete Dugan said in a news release.
Reino was just released from state prison earlier this month after serving a four-year sentence for an armed robbery in Pima County, records show.
Reino's Facebook page showed him posing in blue clothing in the style of The Crips, a notorious California-based criminal gang, but it wasn't immediately clear is he actually is gang-affiliated. Once his arrest was made public, his Facebook wall was flooded with negative comments from the public and by Friday afternoon the page was taken down.
After attacking Abriola, police said the two suspects used his car in a series of other incidents.
They are accused of trying to enter a convenience store with their faces masked around 2 a.m. Thursday near East 22nd Street and South Park Avenue. The pair ran away from the store when they realized the doors were locked.
Police looked at surveillance tape and officers soon were looking for the red Pontiac Grand Prix the masked men used as a getaway car.
A matching car was later found near East Irvington Road and South 12th Avenue. As police got closer to it, the driver raced off but crashed into two cars about a block away.
After learning the red Pontiac was registered to Abriola, police went both to his house and his workplace to try to track him down.
That's when they found the victim's cell phone and a pool of blood on the ground next to his parking spot at work.
A man answering the phone Friday at the AutoZone where Abriola worked said the victim had been with chain for more than 10 years at different stores and was semi-retired, working part-time hours, at the store where he was carjacked. The man wouldn't give his name because he said company police prohibits employees from talking to news media.
"I can tell you that he was a great guy," the man said of the victim. "He will be missed."
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