Native American Activist ‘Jess Sixkiller’ Shot To Death In Home Invasion

Jess Sixkiller (Photo: Sixkiller family photo)

Jess Sixkiller (Photo: Sixkiller family photo)

By Red Power Media, Staff

Phoenix police are investigating a violent home invasion in which a prominent member of the Cherokee community was shot and killed.

The wife of, 78-year-old, Jess Sixkiller called 911 about 3:15 a.m. Friday, to report she believed someone was inside the home she shared with her husband.

Police spokesman James Holmes said she heard someone attempting to break into the home. She then heard what she believed to be a gunshot and found her husband in another room.

When officers arrived, they took the woman from the home and during a sweep of the house, they discovered Sixkiller shot to death.

https://twitter.com/KatieJConner/status/647407690377859072/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

She told authorities that she thought she heard someone say “police” in broken English, police said.

Police are continuing to investigate and asking for the public’s help in identifying the perpetrator.

The daughter of the victim identified her father as Jess Sixkiller, a former Chicago police officer and a Native American rights activist.

https://twitter.com/LaurenABC15/status/647494724824072192/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

A memorial fund has been set up in Sixkiller’s name. Donations can be made to:

Wells Fargo Bank
Jess Sixkiller Memorial
Account #2457886071

Phoenix Police Homicide detectives have very little to go on in this investigation and they are asking anyone who may have seen or heard anything, or who may have information about this homicide to call Silent Witness at (480) WIT-NESS. As always, any caller may remain anonymous.

At this point in the investigation, they don’t know whether anything was stolen, but say there are signs of forced entry.

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UPDATED: Dudley George’s Brother Accidentally Set On Fire During Camp Ipperwash Protest

Pierre George is engulfed in flames during a dispute between members of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nations at the entrance to the former army camp being returned by the federal government in Ipperwash, Ont. on Sunday September 20, 2015. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Networ

Pierre George is engulfed in flames during a dispute between members of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nations at the entrance to the former army camp being returned by the federal government in Ipperwash, Ont. on Sunday September 20, 2015. Craig Glover/The London Free Press/Postmedia Networ

Warning: Graphic Images 

By Red Power Media, Staff, Updated Sept 20, 2015

The brother of native protester Dudley George, — shot dead by an OPP sniper 20 years ago — was engulfed in flames Sunday during a protest by natives at a disputed former federal military camp.

The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation last week ratified a deal, that included the return of land appropriated by the federal government in 1942 for use as a military training facility.

But Sunday, during a march to mark the deal’s ratification, a dispute broke out between natives in front of the former Camp Ipperwash, with some residents of the camp erecting a small fire to prevent others from entering.

Pierre George, was engulfed in flames during the standoff.

WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO: Aboriginal protester accidentally engulfed in flames

Witnesses say Pierre was injured when he accidentally set himself ablaze while pouring gasoline on a fire set by the protesters.

There was still no immediate word on his condition.

The First Nation announced Saturday that it had approved a settlement that included the return of land and $90 million in the dispute over Camp Ipperwash.

RELATED:

About $20 million will be used to compensate original members of Stony Point, their ancestors and eligible band members, while $70 million will be put into a fund overseen by trustees for future development of the original Stony Point reserve.

Dudley George was shot and killed by police when a group of about 30 protesters from the First Nation occupied nearby Ipperwash Provincial Park in September 1995, claiming it contained a sacred burial ground.

Sources:

http://www.lfpress.com/2015/09/20/brother-of-dudley-george-engulfed-in-flames-during-dispute-at-former-camp-ipperwash

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/dudley-george-s-brother-accidentally-set-on-fire-during-ipperwash-protest

Sacred Buffalo Child Stone Blown Up In 1966 For Dam Project Lies Underwater

Video: Search for Buffalo Child Stone

By Black Powder | Red Power Media

The sacred Buffalo Child Stone was blown to pieces with dynamite in 1966 to make way for the South Saskatchewan River Dam Project.

For hundreds of years, the 400-ton rock, —known in Cree as Mistassini (Big Rock)— that resembled a resting buffalo was a sacred meeting place to the Assiniboine and Cree nations.

Despite heroic efforts by First Nations groups to preserve  the Buffalo Child Stone, it was blown up by the Saskatchewan Government and now lies on the floor of Lake Diefenbaker.

Last year, a Saskatoon-based diver, was the first person in nearly 50 years to lay eyes on what remains of the important First Nations’ sacred site.

Neil Fisher, left, and Steven Thair prepare to dive. (Submitted photo/StarPhoenix)

Neil Fisher, left, and Steven Thair prepare to dive. (Submitted photo/StarPhoenix)

Diver, Steven Thair, located the rock at a depth of 21 metres. As he was securing a search line, he lost his balance. When he put his hand out to steady himself, he touched the sharp edge of dynamited rock. He says it is a difficult dive, with visibility at less than 2 metres, with lights.

Tyrone Tootoosis, a member of the Poundmaker Cree Nation, was a part of the discovery team. His father, Wilfred Tootoosis, was one of the elders who fought the destruction of the consecrated site.
 Elder Wilfred Tootoosis stands by Buffalo Child Stone. Photo courtesy of the Saskatchewan Archeological Society.

Elder Wilfred Tootoosis stands by Buffalo Child Stone. Photo courtesy of the Saskatchewan Archeological Society.

In a News Talk article, Thair, recalled how Tyrone, an aboriginal advisor present during the search, said he was honoured to be one of the first people to touch fragments of the stone since it was lost underwater.

“This sacred rock being destroyed, it’s not the first time that’s happened. Now that we are aware of what has happened here in this country in the last 100 some years, we don’t want to see it happen again. I mean, it would be akin to dynamiting Stonehenge because there was going to be a building put there,” Tyrone said.

A remnant of Mistaseni sits on the bottom of Lake Diefenbaker. (Submitted photo/StarPhoenix)

A remnant of Mistaseni sits on the bottom of Lake Diefenbaker. (Submitted photo/StarPhoenix)

Thair said, he does want to tell the story of what happened in 1966, but also he wants to be point out that he doesn’t think it would happen now.

“I don’t think any government would blow the rock up if the circumstances were what they are today, and I don’t think the aboriginal community would stand for it,” he told The Star-Phoenix.

Read more about the Buffalo Child Stone, as told by Barry Ahenakew, an elder of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, to Star-Phoenix reporter Hannah Spray here.

Native American Task Force To Restore Trust, After 2 Homeless Navajo Men Beaten To Death

CaptureTask

By Red Power Media, Staff

It’s been one year since a group of teens beat two homeless Navajo men to death in Albuquerque. A task force has released its recommendations.

When the teens were arrested and charged with the beating deaths, the crime shocked New Mexico.

The incident has prompted city officials to establish a task force to improve life for Native Americans in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, met with Native American leaders and organized the task force, which focused on homelessness within the Native American population. The task force released its recommendations, but it said trust must be restored.

“A lot of them have a trust for the system. A lot of them don’t have trust in anything, so sometimes they get lost on the streets, and they don’t want to ask for help, because they just don’t trust the system,” said Sherrick Roanhorse, chairman of the task force.

Agencies that interact with the homeless will be learning more about Native culture.

Friday morning, Mayor Berry said the task force has come up with 14 recommendations for the city to follow up on. They include more funding for the “first nation’s community health source”. Officials say $300,000 will help provide more medical care, food and job services.

There will also be an increased focus on mental health issues, emergency housing and “cultural competency training” for all city employees who routinely work with the native population.

All this stems from then deadly beating a year ago on west Central where police say three teens killed two homeless Navajo men for the fun of it using rocks, poles and bricks.

RELATED:

Task force members say they have a lot of work to do.

Officials say with more outreach and education the hope is to spread cultural awareness and prevent further Native American homelessness.

The city says it is also considering building a separate shelter for homeless Native Americans.

Rally For Tina Fontaine Ends With Cousins Wanting A Meeting With Investigators

Video: Justice For Tina Fontaine March

By Black Powder | Red Power Media, Updated: Aug 23, 2015

A one year anniversary rally and march was held in Winnipeg to demand justice for 15 yr old, Tina Fontaine.

On Friday, Tina Fontaine’s cousins and their stepmother, gathered with local indigenous activists and community members at City Hall for a rally, before they marched in the streets to demand justice for Tina.

On Aug 21, 2014, five days after the teen’s body was pulled from the Red River, calls for an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, were renewed when a protest camp was set up across from the legislative building in Winnipeg.

A handful of indigenous women set up the camp, — calling on the Harper government for an inquiry— that lasted 3 weeks and by the end some 50 tents had went up. The protest camp gained national attention.

Womens Protest Camp Winnipeg Photo: Red Power Media

The womens protest camp for a national inquiry in Winnipeg. (Sept. 2014) File Photo: Red Power Media

One year to the day, the protest continued as some of the same indigenous women and local activists who took part in setting up the camp, also organized a rally and march for Tina and her family.

Cousins of Tina’s including, Katie Fontaine and her sisters Rose and Angel, took part in an emotional rally, where tears streamed down their faces.

Tina Fontaine’s cousins and their mother at an emotional rally at Winnipeg city hall.

Tina Fontaine’s cousins and their stepmother Sarah Courchaine at an emotional City Hall rally. Screenshot: Red Power Media

A group of about 40 activists and community members walked with the cousins from City Hall along Main Street to Portage Avenue then to the Public Safety Building (PBS) where the Winnipeg Police Service is located, to mark the one year anniversary.

Jennifer Spence-Clarke, Left and Sandy Banman, Right, are two of the women organizers from last years protest camp who took part in the march for and rally for Tina Fontaine.

Jennifer Spence-Clarke, left and Sandy Banman, right, are two of the women organizers from last years protest camp who took part in the rally and march for Tina Fontaine.

Many held signs calling for Justice for Tina.

The goal was to once again encourage the federal government to launch an inquiry and pressure local police to provide more information to the Fontaine family about Tina’s unsolved murder.

RELATED:

Katie said the family still isn’t getting any answers from police and no one has been arrested.

Video: No Justice, No Peace for Tina at PSB building

After indigenous activists, along with Tina’s cousins had blocked the doorway of the PBS building, —where chants of No Justice, No Peace yelled out— Red Power Media asked a police officer for an update on Tina Fontaine’s case.

Video: Red Power Media asks the Police for an update on Tina’s ongoing investigation.

Police say investigators will make themselves available to meet with the Fontaine family.

Thelma Favel, Tina’s great aunt who cared for her before she was placed in care of child and family services, has said she wants more information to give her closure and allow her to grieve Tina’s death.

Katie told Red Power Media, that her family now wants to meet with investigators working on Tina’s case, to get answers, to the questions they have.

She also said “It makes me feel good people are still out there, trying to help us get the answers.”

Tina Fontaine

Tina Fontaine

Video Shows RCMP Killing Of Dog That Was Clearly Not A Threat

DogHandler

The Prince Albert RCMP Service Dog Unit

By Red Power Media, Staff, Updated, 08/18/2015

A Facebook video surfaced today, that shows the Royal Mounted Canadian Police (RCMP) dragging a Native man out of a home when one of the officers walks up to a black dog wagging its tail in the grass and shoots it dead.

The RCMP claimed the dog, Duke, had attacked one of their dogs.

But the video, recorded by a screaming distraught woman, shows that did not happen in the moments before the dog was shot.

The video does not capture the scene in its entirety, however, in the beginning, you can hear the RCMP dog handler instructing another officer to “get a shotgun and take this dog down.”

Duke was nowhere close to the group of officers dragging the almost naked man ―named Adam Cote― out of the house and the dog may have already been injured.

Nevertheless, a RCMP officer walks over with a shotgun and shoots Duke dead.

(WARNING: Graphic)

Apparently, Duke had attacked the police dog, when Kamsack RCMP and the Prince Albert RCMP Service Dog Unit went into a residence on the Key First Nation, after receiving information that Cote was hiding in one of the homes.

Cote was taken into custody. He suffered injuries during the arrest and received treatment in hospital.

Some online media are calling the killing of Duke, a matter of officers seeking revenge for their dog.

The video of Cote’s arrest was posted to a Facebook group titled Justice for Adam Cote and has drawn attention from all over the world.

According to an article posted on CKOM:

Cote was wanted on several charges including aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, break and enter, fail to attend Court and breach of undertaking.

The charges stemmed from two alleged assaults on November 2013 and July 2014.

Sources: 

http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/08/canadian-cops-kill-dog-that-video-shows-was-clearly-not-a-threat/

http://new.ckom.com/story/dog-shot-killed-arrest-man-charged-kamsack-area-assaults/394365

Autopsy: Sarah Lee Circle Bear Died Of Meth Overdose Two Days After Arrest

tumblr_inline_nsh4yz0BTm1txn8rf_500

By Red Power Media, Staff

After over a month of investigation, Attorney General announced Thursday that Sarah Lee Circle Bear died of a meth overdose.

The 24-year-old Lakota woman from Claremont, died while in Brown County Jail, the afternoon of July 5, some 52 or so hours after being arrested.

The attorney general’s office explains the death was due to acute methamphetamine/amphetamine toxicity.

As the state’s investigation now turns to the source of the meth, a timeline is becoming clear that limits when Circle Bear could have been in possession of the drug.

Circle Bear was initially taken into custody July 3 by the South Dakota Highway Patrol after being involved in a traffic accident in Roberts County around 7 or 8 a.m., said Sara Rabern, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

Wayne Pahl was also in the vehicle with Circle Bear during the accident, Rabern said. Both taken to the Roberts County Jail.

At the Roberts County Jail, it was discovered that Circle Bear was wanted in Brown County for a bond violation. She spent most of July 3, a Friday, in the jail until she was taken to the Brown County Jail, Rabern said.

Circle Bear arrived at the Brown County Jail just before midnight on July 3, Rabern said.

Generally, when an inmate goes through the intake process at the Brown County Jail, he or she is required to undergo a health screening. Staffers ask the inmate a series of medical questions, including about the use or ingestion of any drugs or alcohol.

Authorities have not said if Circle Bear was intoxicated or on drugs when she was booked into Brown County Jail.

On July 5, Circle Bear was found in a holding cell unconscious and unresponsive and taken to Avera St. Luke’s Hospital, where she was declared dead by a doctor.

Brown County coroner Michael Carlsen said Circle Bear was declared dead at 1:22 p.m. July 5 at Avera St. Luke’s Hospital. However, a Marshall County court document seeking court-appointed attorney fees concerning a case in which Circle Bear faced minor drug charges includes a clerk’s note that Circle Bear died in the Brown County Jail.

From the time Circle Bear was arrested in Roberts County until the time of her death, she was in custody.

Circle Bear’s family questions the circumstances of her death.

It is unknown as to how the toxic and deadly levels of methamphetamine (meth) found a way into Circle Bear’s bloodstream, and her father, Terrence Circle Bear, has his doubts about the cause of death.

“How did she get that much meth?” Terrence Circle Bear said by phone Friday.

Circle Bear said another daughter, Adrienne Yancey, is in possession of the jumpsuit Sarah Circle Bear was wearing at the time of her death.

“It had blood on it,” Terrence Circle Bear said. “How do you explain that from a meth overdose?

Circle Bear’s family said that she was pregnant at the time of her death. But, evidence of a pregnancy was unfounded during the autopsy.

The autopsy also showed no indication that Circle Bear had, for example, swallowed a plastic bag that contained meth.

Brown County Sheriff Mark Milbrandt declined to comment until an ongoing state investigation into the source of the meth is finished.

Brown County coroner Mike Carlsen told the Associated Press that Circle Bear had sustained minor injuries from a car crash sometime prior to her death.

A witnesses said that when Circle Bear was transferred to the holding cell, she told guards that she was in excruciating pain. Jail personnel reportedly told her to “quit faking” and “knock it off” before lifting her partway off the floor and dragging her to the cell where she was later found unconscious.

Circle Bear’s death is making the rounds in some online media as a parallel to the Sandra Bland case in Texas.

The death of Bland, an African American woman who died in a jail cell on July 13 , has the nation abuzz about the ongoing saga of police brutality against people of color, and this time, it is becoming even more apparent just how poorly women of color are treated.

Even if the death of Circle Bear, is what the autopsy report says it is, why did Brown County Jail officials not see signs of drug use and an overdose reaction coming?

Native American Family Shot, ‘Two Dead’ On The Crow Reservation

Family members embrace at the scene of a shooting on Pryor Creek Road southwest of Pryor on Wednesday.

Family members embrace at the scene of a shooting on Pryor Creek Road southwest of Pryor on Wednesday.

By Red Power Media, Staff

A Native American couple was shot to death and their daughter wounded Wednesday when they stopped to help a man who had run out of gas on the Montana, Crow Reservation.

The attack happened at around 10:30 a.m. A suspect, identified by a Wyoming Highway Patrol dispatcher as Jesus Deniz, — also known as Jesus Deniz Mendoza —  was arrested at around 12:30 p.m. about eight miles north of Meeteetse, Wyo.

Deniz was taken into custody without incident and is being held in the Park County Detention Center.

Jesus Deniz Mendoza

Bryce Hugs, who is serving as a family spokesman, said his aunt, Tana Shane, 50, and his uncle, Jason Shane, 52, were killed. Their daughter Jora Shane, 24, was shot, but escaped.

Hugs said his aunt drove by a stranded man on Pryor Creek Road just south of Pryor and went home and picked up her husband and daughter to offer help. The family traveled to the corner store in Pryor to get gasoline, but the store was closed. When they returned to the stranded man, the shooting took place.

“When they came back to help him, that’s when it all took place,” Hugs said. “(He) killed both of them and then shot the daughter,” Hugs said. “It grazed her in the head and when she took off (he) shot her in the back.”

Hugs said Jora Shane ran to a nearby school and met a car there. She was given a ride back to her home and returned to the scene of the shooting with some family members. She was taken to a Billings hospital.

The Shanes leave two sons and five daughters behind. The youngest graduated from high school this year, Hugs said.

Big Horn County Undersheriff Bart Elliott told the Helena Independent Record that Jora Shane is “incoherent” in a hospital.

Another relative, Ada Shane told The Associated Press on Thursday that her niece was shot in the back as she was running from the gunman.

Ada Shane says, the man pointed a gun at Jason Shane’s head, ordered them out of the car and told them to give him their money.

Ada Shane says Jason Shane told his daughter to run. She heard gunshots before she fell.

Mother was a member of the largest Crow Nation Clan 

According to Heavy.com, Tana Shane was a member of the Whistling Water, the Crow Nation’s largest clan. There are approximately 12,000 tribal members living on the Crow reservation.

Family members embrace at the scene of a shooting in Pryor, Mont. on the Crow Reservation on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. The FBI confirmed that two people were killed and a third injured by gunfire in Pryor, a town of just over 600 people in southern Montana. A suspect was arrested hours later in Wyoming, FBI spokesman Todd Palmer said. (Casey Page/The Billings Gazette via AP)

Family members embrace at the scene of a shooting in Pryor, Mont. on the Crow Reservation on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (Casey Page/The Billings Gazette via AP)

If Deniz is charged with first-degree murder, it could become a death penalty case.

Deniz’s Facebook profile photo declares ‘Brown Pride’ and judging by the posts on his wall, Spanish is Deniz’s first language.

According to Deniz’s Facebook, he lives in Worland, Wyoming, a town with a population of a little over 5,000. It’s about 125 miles from Pryor, where the shooting took place.

Police Killing Of Native American Man Exposes Hidden Epidemic Of Violence

Alcatraz Island Prison sign

Alcatraz Island Prison sign

By Akira Watts / July 28, 2015

On July 12th, Paul Castaway, a Lakota Sioux tribal citizen, was shot and killed by officers with the Denver Police Department:“

Police Chief Robert White reported at the scene Sunday that one of his officers shot and killed a man after he came ‘dangerously close’ with a long knife. However, family members said they believe the shooting was not justified after the manager at Capital City Mobile Home Park on West Kentucky Avenue showed them surveillance video of the shooting. . . . Castaway, 35, was shot four times and died Sunday evening at Denver Health. Gabriel Black Elk, Castaway’s brother, said the video shows his brother holding the knife against his own throat. He had tried to escape from police by running behind a fence, but there was no gate or opening. The video shows Castaway turning around and walking toward police, who were several feet away. The knife stays pointed toward his neck the entire time, Black Elk said. Thomas Morado, a cousin of Castaway’s, also said he had seen the video. His account matched that of Black Elk’s. ‘There was a different way to go about this,’ Morado said. ‘It didn’t have to end in his death.’”

There have been no shortage of shocking acts perpetrated against Native Americans this year. Back in February, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker smashed the dreams of the Menominee Tribe over venal considerations. Native American groups are still fighting against a deal, sponsored by Arizona Republicans John McCain and Jeff Flake, that gives 2400 acres of sacred Apache land to Resolution Copper, which intends to mine the living shit out of it. And in South Dakota, a group of drunken idiots who poured beer on Native American children will suffer little consequences for their actions.

This is something further though: more violent and less in the eye of the national media. And it is far worse than you might think. While African American men between the ages of 20 and 24 are the one demographic group most likely to be killed by the police, Native Americans constitute the racial group most at risk of police killing:

“The racial group most likely to be killed by law enforcement is Native Americans, followed by African Americans, Latinos, Whites, and Asian Americans. Native Americans, 0.8 percent of the population, comprise 1.9 percent of police killings. African Americans, 13 percent of the population, are victims in 26 percent of police shootings. Law enforcement kills African Americans at 2.8 times the rate of white non-Latinos, and 4.3 times the rate of Asians.”

Though this statistic receives little recognition, it is hardly surprising. The history of state violence against Native Americans goes back hundreds of years. Organized resistance against this violence, such as the American Indian Movement, was met with escalation of state sponsored violence. The needless death of Paul Castaway is only the latest in a string of state violence targeting Native Americans. But this string of violence has been largely invisible to the public. The needless and shocking death of Sandra Bland has galvanized the nation. One day after her death, Native American activist Rexdale Henry died, in very similar circumstances.

But the death of Rexdale Henry has seen nowhere near the public outcry and national attention as the death of Sandra Bland. That needs to change.

Let me be very clear about this. The recognition of police violence perpetrated against Native Americans, as well as the #nativeamericanlivesmatter movement is not something that stands in opposition or as an alternative to the #blacklivesmatter movement. This is not a zero sum game. Bringing the epidemic of violence against Native Americans to national attention does not mean that we must turn our attention from the epidemic of violence against African Americans. #nativeamericanlivesmatter is not analogous to #alllivesmatter. #alllivesmatter distracts from the issue in a manner analogous to responding to a query about one’s feminism with the claim that one is a humanist. #nativeamericanlivesmatter and #blacklivesmatter address related, if distinct, issues. Addressing one issue will not necessarily address the other, but it can  provide valuable insights. The movements can very much compliment and act in solidarity with one another.

Ultimately, the unjustified violence against African Americans and the unjustified violence against Native Americans are symptoms of the same root cause: a systemic racism that pervades American society, and which our police act as agents of coercion and violence in service of. Fighting against that systemic racism is a task for everyone, but it will not be accomplished by the glib claim that #alllivesmatter. Because “all lives” includes those, such as myself, who directly benefit, willingly or not, from this same systemic racism. It footnotes those who are, in actuality, directly targeted by state coercion, repression, and violence. Those voices need to be directly heard, and not smothered by a broadly obvious claim about all lives mattering. And that, ultimately, is why both #blacklivesmatter and #nativeamericanlivesmatter are necessary and essential. Both must be supported and both must be publicized.

The task now, for those who are part of the #nativeamericanlivesmatter movement, is to elevate the public’s awareness of the epidemic of violence that is occurring. Paul Castaway and Rexdale Henry should be as much a part of the national discourse as Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland. Both Native Americans and African Americans are being targeted by the police. And both of those shameful facts must be addressed.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons

Source: Reverb Press

Couple Sets A Homeless Native American Man On Fire While Their Kids Watch (VIDEO)

Joshua Benavidez and Irene Enriquez are facing a string of charges over the incident which left the victim in intensive care

Joshua Benavidez and Irene Enriquez are facing a string of charges over the incident which left the victim in intensive care

By Red Power Media, Staff

A couple has been arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after allegedly setting fire to a homeless Native American man in front of their children as a prank, US police have said.

Joshua Benavidez and Irene Enriquez, both 31, were taken into custody on Wednesday, July 22, on suspicion of carrying out the July 11 attack in front of their two sons, aged 8 and 12, and 2-year-old daughter.

“I just want to say I’m sorry to my family and to my children,” Enriquez told local television station KOB 4 as they were led away by polce.

According to officials, the couple pulled up next to the pavement beside a Native American man — who was sleeping curbside — and started throwing fireworks at him from their car which caused his clothing to catch fire.

As they drove away, the couple noticed the man’s pants had caught on fire and claimed that they attempted to extinguish the fire by pouring water on the man who was said to be unconscious at the time. However, police say that Benavidez told his partner to return to the vehicle and they fled the scene.

A surveillance video released by Albuquerque New Mexico police showed the purple SUV belonging to Benavidez and, officials say, the couple changed the color of the vehicle to white after the brutal attack.

While the couple told local media that this was a prank solely intended on “rattling” the man, they have been charged with aggravated battery with great bodily harm, tampering with evidence, and conspiracy.

The children, who were in the back of the vehicle, revealed to police that the couple did throw the firework on the sleeping homeless man. Benavidez and Enriquez were also charged with child abuse and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

According to officials, the Native American man is still in the intensive care unit at a New Mexico hospital.