January 6, 2023

Police investigating after shots fired at Democratic politicians’ houses

Jordan Meeter

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In early December, two Bernalillo County Commissioners and a state senator’s homes were shot at. No injuries were reported. Another incident was reported Thursday at the off of a state senator.

Albuquerque Police Department held a press conference Jan. 5 where Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Harold Medina spoke about the incidents and provided some information about the ongoing investigation.

“First and foremost, these shootings are very serious crimes regardless of whether anyone was injured and I stand firmly with our community leaders and we stand with our public servants; no matter what,” Keller said.

On Dec. 4, Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa’s southeast Albuquerque home was hit by eight rounds and on Dec. 11 then-Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley’s North Valley home was struck more than a dozen times, according to an APD news release.

The third incident was after midnight on Jan. 3 at state Sen. Linda Lopez’s southwest Albuquerque home where at least eight shots were fired at her home.

Another shooting incident was reported Thursday at State Sen. Antonio “Moe” Maestas’ office. That shooting is still being investigated. Like the others, Maestas is a Democrat.

“Our elected officials have chosen to serve,” Keller said. “They should never be made to feel endangered in the comfort of their own homes, nor should anyone.” 

APD established that the shootings were a part of a pattern, Medina said. However, the only thing that connects all four survivors is that they are Democrats, Medina said.

Some leads have been established, Keller said, noting the importance in not speculating about the cases beyond the fact that they are under investigation.

“I want to assure all of our elected officials in the Albuquerque metro area that we do take these seriously,” Medina said. “We’re grateful that nobody has been hit.”

A deputy commander was assigned to the case who will work solely on this case until it resolves, Medina said. 

Evidence already collected is being processed with the hope that those involved can be identified, Medina said.

“We are working on this and we will move as quickly as possible to get resolution to this situation,” Medina said.

Medina said the process will leave “no stone unturned.”

New Mexico State Police are helping with the investigation and Albuquerque is working with them since the 2023 legislative session is less than a fortnight away, Keller said.

The FBI is also involved in  the case, Medina said.

O’Malley told the New Mexico Political Report that she was more angry than scared when shots were fired near her home on Dec. 11.

“I’m OK and it was very, you know, scary and mostly I was just pissed off about it,” O’Malley said. “This is my home. This is my neighborhood. Families live close by. I’m not going to be chased out of my neighborhood because of a couple gunshots.”

Barboa, who serves as Bernalillo County Chairwoman, issued a statement Thursday night about the indicent.

“Gun violence has deep impacts across our country and particularly here at home in Bernalillo County, this violence puts me in the same position too many of my neighbors experience, we must do more to end gun violence against our communities,” Barboa said. “On Dec. 4 I returned home from Christmas shopping to my home being shot up, it was terrifying. My house had four shots through the front door, where just hours before my granddaughter and I were playing in the living room.

“Elected officials are public figures and often take stances on issues facing our community that people don’t agree with, this violence feels particularly scary and threatening knowing that other women of color elected officials have also been targeted,” Barboa said. “I want public discourse on all the issues I take a vote on, and I urge us all to take the path of courage and bring issues to light in public discourse, in person and without violence.”

More information will be released when it becomes available.

Members of the public who would like to offer information in these cases can contact Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP or by visiting the ABQ Crime Stoppers website crimestoppersnm.com. All tips remain anonymous.