Police Arrest 2 in National City Stabbing Case

Victim was convicted of three felonies and six misdemeanors


Police arrested two people in connection to the death of a National City apartment manager found in the doorway of his home early Tuesday morning.

Enrique "Ricky" Atilano, 53, was discovered around 1 a.m. Tuesday face down, naked and stabbed several times in the upper torso.

A tenant recognized the apartment manager laying in the doorway of an apartment on Norton Avenue and called 911.

At about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, police were in the process of arresting two suspects, according to a law enforcement source with the National City Police Department.

Earlier Wednesday, another law enforcement source said Atilano "made a lot of enemies on both sides of the law." Court records show he had 3 felony convictions, 6 misdemeanor convictions and 3 felony contacts not resulting in a conviction.

NBC 7 spoke exclusively to Atilano's family on Tuesday. His sister-in-law Judy Atilano mentioned the family was worried for his safety.

"We knew somebody was going to hurt him. My husband wanted him out of San Diego. He's wanted him out of San Diego since he got off parole," she said.

Enrique Atilano was a registered sex offender and according to the state’s Megan’s Law website, he had been convicted of lewd acts with a child under the age of 14.

“The girl was 17, she lied about her age. He did his time. He did 10 years. He came out, and he was trying to live his life,” Judy Atilano said. “He had two jobs, he worked hard, he didn't bother anybody."

Judy Atilano said the family thinks they know who may have killed Atilano but investigators wouldn't confirm the family's suspicions.

Homicide investigators are saying little about the investigation, but it's believed they'll examine whether the victim's prior conviction played any part in the murder.

Officers initially launched a stolen vehicle report for Atilano’s Chevy Suburban. The vehicle was found in Paradise Hills late Tuesday, the interior burned.

On Wednesday night, police released more information regarding the suspects in this murder.

Detectives said they learned of evidence linking Atilano’s 28-year-old roommate, Joel Gutierrez, to the murder.

Police arrested Gutierrez around 6 p.m. at East 4th Street and Palm Avenue.

Another suspect, Christian Veloria, was also taken into custody.

Gutierrez is scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon.

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