Police in Albuquerque are investigating whether five shootings that hit Democratic lawmakers’ homes and offices over the past four weeks are connected or politically motivated.
In each incident, several rounds of gunfire hit the walls and doors of buildings. No injuries have been reported but some elected officials wrote on social media about living in fear. The FBI and state police are assisting in the investigation.
“We don’t want to speculate that these are related … The investigation hopefully will determine what’s related and what’s not related,” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said at a news conference Thursday. “I think on the surface, we could all recognize and see that they are all members of the Democratic Party that we know of, so, you know, there’s always that connection, but we don’t know.”
Newly elected New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez, Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, state Sens. Linda Lopez (D) and Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D), and former commissioner Debbie O’Malley were all impacted by the five separate shootings, authorities said.
“These shootings are very serious crimes,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller (D) said Thursday. “Our elected officials have chosen to serve. They should never be made to feel in danger, in the comfort of their own homes, nor should anyone.”
Albuquerque FBI Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda said his office is helping to follow the evidence in the case. “And the evidence is going to lead us to exactly the individual or individuals who are responsible for this,” he added.
Barboa’s home was the first residence to be attacked on Dec. 4. Eight shots were fired outside her southeast Albuquerque home, according to police.
“In early December, I returned from Christmas shopping to my home being shot up. It was terrifying. My house had four shots through the front door and windows, where just hours before my grandbaby and I were playing in the living room,” Barboa wrote in a Facebook post Friday.
The next incident occurred the following weekend, on Dec. 10, when the campaign office of Torrez, who was elected in November, was shot at several times, police said. Torrez and his staff had already moved out of the downtown Albuquerque space, police told media.
The third attack happened the next day, on Dec. 11, when more than a dozen bullets hit the home of then-Bernalillo County Commissioner O’Malley in the North Valley area, according to police.
O’Malley, who left her position as commissioner after serving a maximum of two terms, said in an email to KRQE that she and her husband were awaken by the sound of gunfire.
“To say I am angry about this attack on my home — on my family, is the least of it,” O’Malley wrote. “I remember thinking how grateful I was that my grandchildren were not spending the night, and that those bullets did not go through my house.”
On Jan. 4, multiple shots were fired at the home of Lopez, marking the fourth shooting that authorities are probing.
Lopez told the Albuquerque Journal in a statement that three bullets passed through her 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom.
“I’ve been representing my community for 27 years and I’ve had threats off and on based on different pieces of legislation, but this is the first time when something has been done [as] a very personal attack on me and my family,” Lopez wrote.
The fifth and latest attack occurred on Thursday, when ShotSpotter, a police gunshot detection sensor, registered three shots near the downtown law office of Maestas, according to Medina, the police chief.
Maestas wrote on Twitter:
Source New Mexico, a nonprofit news organization, reported on Friday that the contact info for state lawmakers, including home phone numbers and work addresses, was scrubbed from the state Legislature’s website.
“This isn’t CSI on TV. It’s just not within an hour at the end of the episode where we have answers and we’re able to make arrests,” Medina said Thursday. “But rest assured, we’re working on this and we will move as quickly as possible to get resolution to this situation.”
- Police probe 5 shootings at homes and offices of New Mexico Democrats - January 6, 2023