San Diego

Police Arrest Suspect Accused of Setting Man on Fire

Jose Ricardo Garibay, 26, allegedly lured Julio Caesar Edeza, 39, to his truck on April 17 and set him on fire

Police have arrested a suspect accused of setting a man on fire in San Diego's Oak Park neighborhood. 

Monday morning at approximately 10:15 a.m., police arrested 26-year-old Jose Ricardo Garibay after they saw him in a car on the 6200 block of Estrella Avenue in San Diego. 

Garibay, who had two outstanding misdemeanor warrants, was booked into San Diego County Jail at 6:46 p.m. on an attempted murder charge and his outstanding warrants, Acting Homicide Lieutenant Manny Del Toro said. 

SDPD officers say Garibay lured 39-year-old Julio Caesar Edeza to his truck, doused him in a flammable liquid and lit him on fire. The incident happened at noon Sunday on Pentecost Way in San Diego's Oak Park neighborhood near a Rite Aid, just north of State Route 94, officers said.  

The suspect fled the scene.

Details of the crime were released and, on Monday, Del Toro said a resident in Allied Gardens noticed a car matching a photo of the suspect's vehicle on Estrella Avenue. That resident called 911 and police were able to track down Garibay in the area.

Garibay was wanted on two misdemeanor warrants, possibly battery-related, and detectives arrested him on those warrants on the spot, Del Toro said.

Garibay was questioned by detectives who determined he was the suspect in the crime against Edeza. Del Toro said the suspect was very "matter of fact" and cooperative when asked about his involvement in the case.

Detectives believe the crime was random, as it doesn't appear Garibay and Edeza knew one another.

Edeza's family, including his two sisters, have been with him at the hospital. They said he is a loving, funny, generous man and although he didn't have much he shared what he could. 

Edeza's cousin and niece said Edeza has a 14-year old son and family was the most important thing to him. He's a religious man and loves to cook and has a culinary certification. 

Edeza's niece, Erika Jasso, told NBC 7 his family is devastated.

"For him to get treated like that -- it's not fair. No person deserves to get treated the way he did," Jasso said, sobbing. "It hurts me because he's a loving person."

Edeza suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to UC San Diego's Burn Center, police said. 

Edeza has third-degree burns to 85 percent of his body and is in a medically-induced coma according to his family. Police say he is not expected to survive. 

Del Toro said the case, described as "horrific," is being forwarded to the San Diego County District Attorney's office. Police are recommending Garibay be charged with attempted murder.

Detectives have yet to identify what type of liquid the victim was doused with before he was lit on fire.

Anyone with any information on the location or possible owner of this vehicle can notify the San Diego Police Department (619) 531-2000, Homicide Team 5.  Witnesses with information wishing to remain anonymous can also contact Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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