Man sets home on fire, followed by police pursuit

YUMA, Ariz. –

A Yuma man led police on a 20 minute car chase after allegedly setting his trailer on fire and hijacking a car.

Around 8 a.m. Monday morning, Yuma Fire Department received a call about a trailer fire at 1st Street and Magnolia. Three people were inside the trailer when the fire started. “Everyone that was in the home at the time the fire started was able to evacuate safely so there were no injuries,” said Mike Erfert, the public information officer for the Yuma Fire Department.

After the fire was put out, investigators say the cause of the fire was intentional.“Fire investigators determined the fire was started in a bedroom and the fire was intentionally set,” said Erfert.

According to the Yuma Police Department, the fire was intentionally started by the owner of the trailer 42-year-old Juan Luis Becerra-Benitez with three of his family members inside. Becerra-Benitez fled the area and about a mile away from the fire at Pecan Shadow Apartments,  he threatened an individual driving a van with a knife and hijacked the car which led police on a 20 minute long car chase.

Lori Franklin with Yuma Police Department says, “YPD along with assisting agencies pursued Becerra-Benitez for several minutes and was eventually apprehended.” The pursuit occurred around 1st Street and Avenue C and finally ended near where the alleged arson took place. Police used stop sticks to puncture the tires of the van ending the pursuit. “He was taken into custody and booked into the Yuma County Detention Center,” said Franklin.

Becerra-Benitez is being charged with three counts of attempted murder in the 2nd degree, three counts of endangerment, one count of arson, armed robbery and more.

The Police say they do not know at this time why Becerra-Benitez set his home on fire.


The Yuma Police Department encourages anyone with information on this case to call the YPD at (928) 373-4700 or Detective Angulo at (928) 373-468, Detective Roman at(928)-373-4689 or 78-Crime at (928) 782-7463 to remain anonymous.

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