ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police arrested a local real estate agent on Sunday for running down a man with his car.
Realtor Chris Pino told police that he believed two homeless men were stealing from his property, and he was trying to knock them down in order to detain them until police arrived.
It happened at the old Trinity Methodist Church on Silver and Solano.
Pino owns the building, which is currently vacant. Neighbors say it’s been a nuisance.
“A lot of what looks like homeless people sleeping out in the front part right over there,” Eric Kruger said, pointing to the building’s front entry way. “There’s been a fire. There’s been multiple break-ins.”
Still, the crime scene on Sunday in the alley behind the church was unusual.
“I think it’s a terrible thing. I think it’s a really sad thing,” Kruger said.
Witnesses said Pino drove his red Hummer into two homeless men, hitting one of them at 20 miles per hour and threatening the other with a shovel.
A witness claims Pino shouted, “You’re going to be killed. I’m going to kill you. You stole from me.”
Police arrested him for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Since his release from jail, KRQE News 13 went to his home to speak with him.
“This is a nightmare,” Pino said.
He declined a request for an interview to explain further, however.
He had told police it started when a neighbor told him two guys were stealing.
Pino said he didn’t mean to hurt anyone, that he “meant to knock [the man] down so he wouldn’t leave.”
The criminal complaint also states that Pino told police he “had a shovel in the car and wanted to knock the other guy out until the cops got there.”
While neighbors understand the frustration with the rash of crime, they don’t understand his response to it on Sunday.
“I don’t think in any way does it justify harming someone or hitting someone with your vehicle,” Kruger said.
The criminal complaint states that when Albuquerque police last checked on the man who was hit by the car, the man had a “potential non-survivable head injury.”
Pino also got in trouble two months ago with police over a Nob Hill home he has for sale on Richmond Drive SE.
Police issued a criminal summons, saying Pino owed $775 in fines because the alarm kept going off.