A 31-year-old man from Mexico was arrested and now faces arson and attempted murder charges after allegedly setting an occupied apartment building on fire last month in Greeley.

Just after 6 p.m. on Aug. 22, officers with the Greeley Police Department responded to a disturbance call in the 800 block of 4th Street.

Once they arrived on the scene, officers discovered that an apartment building with residents inside was on fire, according to arrest records. 

With the help of the Greeley Fire Department, crews were able to successfully extinguish the fire at the residence. However, arrest records indicate there was extensive damage done to the exterior of the building as a result of the fire.

The Greeley Tribune says the fire spread to the inside of the residence, causing extensive damage to the upstairs apartment and minimal damage to the bottom apartment.

Witnesses Testify

A witness in the area during the time of the Aug. 22 fire reportedly told officers that he saw a man walking away from the apartment home after he started the fire with a blue lighter.

Through his Mexico identification card, officers were able to locate and identify the suspect as 31-year-old Pablo Temoxtle. Shortly after being taken into custody, Temoxtle was found with a blue lighter in his possession - as the witness had previously mentioned.

Greeley police wound up speaking with two other witnesses who reside on the same block as the residence that caught fire. Witnesses Christian and Veronica Ramirez both reported they saw smoke coming from the residence on Aug. 22.

Christian Ramirez said he saw the suspect in the front yard of the home with a blue lighter in his hand, heard him laugh, and admit to lighting the fire.

Veronica also saw Texmoxtle in the yard with a blue lighter and also heard him admit to lighting the fire. Veronica said she even asked the suspect if anyone was inside of the burning home, to which he responded that he knew people were inside.

Veronica provided footage to police of the fire that showed Temoxtle in the front yard, watching the residence burn, as per reports from the Greeley Tribune.

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At the time of the arson incident, two women, identified as Isabel Garcia and Tina Venegas, were reportedly inside the basement apartment of the residence in the 800 block of 4th Street.

Ten minutes prior to the incident, Isabel Garcia told police that a man who goes by the name “Cholo” showed up at her residence and attempted to enter the gate into her yard.

Garcia said the suspect had been acting aggressively; she ultimately decided not to let him in because she felt threatened by the suspect and thought he was going to hurt her.

Shortly after returning inside after denying the suspect, "Cholo" entry into her yard, Garcia began to hear popping and cracking sounds, smelt smoke and saw flames.

Garcia hid in the basement apartment, while Tina Venegas exited the apartment for safety.

Suspect Identified And Arrested

According to Greeley Police, Isabel Garcia was able to identity Temoxtle out of a photographic lineup to confirm he was “Cholo,” following the incident.

On the morning of Aug. 23, detectives interviewed Temoxtle at the Weld County Jail, where he admitted to his crimes. He said he was living in the residence for four months before being evicted on Aug. 21. He admitted to using gas cans to pour gasoline on the front porch and then using his lighter to start the Aug. 22 fire.

Temoxtle also admitted to officials he was aware that people were inside the residence at the time he set it on fire. The suspect claimed the voices in his head told him to light the residence on fire, the Greeley Tribune said. 

He acknowledged that he knew it was wrong at the time and that he was putting people’s lives in danger.

Temoxtle was arrested on suspicion of first-degree arson and two counts of attempted first-degree murder charges.

He had an active warrant out for his arrest prior to this incident.

Pablo Temoxtle now has a disposition hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. Oct. 12 in Weld District Court.

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