Father of 2 beaten to death in International District; victim’s mom asks witnesses to come forward

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SEATTLE — Investigators say it started with a fistfight in the International District.

When police got there, they found a man who wasn’t breathing on the sidewalk.

Benito Enriquez, 31, was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center.

Now police need your help identifying the suspect caught on camera.

The victim’s mother, Christina Enriquez, says she lived for her son.

“He was definitely a teddy bear, a gentle giant, so compassionate and loved children,” Enriquez said.

Benito had two daughters of his own and before heading to the Kenny Chesney concert Saturday night, he made a promise.

“He had made a promise to his daughters that he would buy them T-shirts and come home earlier,” Enriquez said.

Benito kept his word, he told his friends he would meet them at the car after buying the shirts.

“I just wish we got there 15 to 20 minutes before,” friend Joey Smith said.

Because when his friends got to the car at about 9 p.m., Benito was already on the way to Harborview.

“The examiner told me there was so much damage to his head that once he went to the ground, the guy repeatedly kicked him,” Smith said.

Seattle police say a man in a white T-shirt and a trucker-style baseball cap could be responsible for beating Benito to death.

Surveillance video captured Benito walking next to the suspect and a woman in her 20s in the International District.

A short time later, medics found Benito about 300 feet away at 5th and South Weller with no pulse.

“I see his red truck, my heart beats a little faster because I think he is home and I can hardly wait to be with him,” Enriquez said.

But her only child is gone, a 31 year-old father who became a nurse to help the disabled.

“When I had a rough day, he says you don’t have a rough day, mom, I work with people who have a rough day. He said they are ones who need your help,” Enriquez said.

Now Benito's loved ones are the ones who need help.

“Any information how minimal it is, it doesn’t matter, just please step forward,” Enriquez said.

Police say the suspect is a male in his 20s with a medium to stocky build. He is 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-1. He is possibly Hispanic, Middle Eastern or Pacific Islander.

The woman he was with is described as a white female in her 20s, 5-foot-8. She has long, straight blonde hair and she's possibly pregnant.

Enriquez knows it’s too late to bring her son back but she worries that the suspect will strike again.

“My heart is broken so much and the only reason I am here is my 6- and 8-year-old granddaughters,” Enriquez said.

Near the spot where Benito died, friends posted a message and pictures of him. The family planned to be back at the corner of 5th and S. Weller at 8 p.m. for a vigil.

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13 comments

  • Kit

    Uwajimaya is usually open at that time and they have security guards roaming the property. Someone must have seen this suspect. It doesn’t take much to set-off some dope-head these days. There’s lots of weird people hanging around that area – especially a few blocks north near the UG mission. .

    • Lindsey

      picked his fate? you think he went up to this guy and said please beat me to death? There’s nothing any stranger could say to me to make me want to kill them.

    • Spring Bay

      I think that you may be right, your words are a bit harsh given the circumstances, but upon close inspection of the video, it’s really hard to not get the feeling that the man killed, seemed to be kind of provoking the guy in white. It almost looks like the guy in white is trying to ignore him while the guy killed seems to be running his mouth in his ear. Sad…So sad for his kids and wife.

    • Melissa

      Y’all trolls are ridiculous. Every time a tragedy occurs, someone has to post some ignorant ugly comments. His girls may read this ish some day. Also, that’s an awfully big assumption to make…that video doesn’t tell the entire story, it’s a small clip. Even if he did provoke a fight, why does that make it okay to get stomped to death after the fight’s over?

  • jj

    There was also 2 separate shoot-outs near by at 2 different parks in the central district. I noticed q13 failed to mention or report on them…..?

  • Chris Johnson

    Hey Q13 – show some tact. Don’t play a cheery McDonald’S breakfast commercial right before a story about a guy getting beaten to death.

  • lfields04

    The victim and his group of friends sat right in front of us for awhile at the concert. This is very sad. RIP Benito and my prayers go out to his daughters and mother.

  • Spring Bay

    This is awful, but have watched the video a few times, and I can’t help but get the sense that the man who was killed appeared to be agitated as he was walking, in terms of his body language, and gesturing somewhat aggressively toward the guy in the white shirt. at one point, he looks like Mr. Enriquez kind of gets into the guy’s face as their walking. In other words, this clearly does not appear to be a random vicious surprise beating on the part of the guy in the white shirt. Still super sad though. Whatever truly happened here, didn’t have to have happened, that’s for sure.

  • Jim

    There is no excuse for repeatedly kicking someone in the head when the situation is under control regardless of who provoked whom or who was the instigator.

    • Spring Bay

      Definitely, I agree with you. Which is why WHEN, not if, but WHEN, the guy in white gets caught, he should be punished severely. Possibly even 2nd degree murder.