The argument was getting heated, so, police allege, 28-year-old Rafael Arredondo decided to set his girlfriend on fire.
Well, first, Arredondo, who lived with his girlfriend near 21st Avenue and Indian School Road in Phoenix, allegedly bound and gagged her with clear packing tape. Then, he doused her shorts and shirt with lighter fluid and lighted her on fire.
It appears he regretted the decision because, as the flames began to spread, police say, he patted out the fire on her shorts with his hands and sprayed her down with a fire extinguisher.
Arredondo allegedly informed his girlfriend that the burning was her “punishment,” told her to get into the shower, and called 911.
When police arrived, the victim was in the shower with the water running. She sustained third-degree burns over 25 percent of her body.
Both she and Arredondo, whose hands were burned, were taken to the Maricopa Medical Center burn unit.
The victim recounted the gruesome tale at the hospital.
Arredondo told police that he was away when the fire started. He returned to find a neighbor running from the apartment and his girlfriend engulfed in flames.
Police arrested Arredondo April 17. He has been charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault.
Intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime in the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice reports.
In 2014, the most recent statistics available, 23,467 Arizonans called a crisis shelter for help with a domestic-violence situation, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security. More than 8,700 people stayed overnight at a shelter or received help with transitional housing while they were trying to escape from an abuser (For help finding a shelter, check out this interactive map.).
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