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The Albuquerque shooting shared a target: elected Democrats

The Albuquerque shooting shared a target: elected Democrats

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Bullets flew through the front door and garage of a home. At another home, three bullets entered the bedroom of a 10-year-old girl in a series of shootings that had at least one thing in common: They all targeted the homes or offices of New Mexico Democratic elected officials.

No one was injured in the shootings, which are being investigated by local and federal authorities. Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said they are working to determine whether the attacks, which began in early December and have been scattered across the state’s largest city, are connected.

Attacks come in the middle sharp rise in threats to members of Congress and two years later to supporters of then-President Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol and sent lawmakers running for their lives. Members of the local school and election workers across the country have also suffered harassment, intimidation and threats of violence.

Albuquerque officials admitted they don’t know what motivated the shootings, but felt it was still important to let the public know. No suspect has been identified. Police declined to comment further on the investigation Friday.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will analyze shell casings recovered from the scenes to try to determine if the same weapon was used or if the gun was used in other crimes, Phoenix-based ATF Special Agent Brendan Iber said.

The shooting began Dec. 4 when eight rounds were fired at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adrian Barboa, police said. Seven days later, someone fired more than a dozen shots at the home of former Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley.

Albuquerque police said technology that can detect the sound of gunfire showed shots fired near the former campaign office of New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez on Dec. 10. No one was in the building at the time and police said they found no damage.

Just this week, multiple shots were fired at the home of state Sen. Linda Lopez — a lead sponsor of a 2021 bill that would repeal New Mexico’s ban on most abortion procedures — and the office of state Sen. Moe Maestas. Maestas, an attorney, co-sponsored a bill last year to establish new criminal penalties for threats against state and local judges. It didn’t go through.

Maestas said employees at his law office heard loud, rapid gunshots outside Thursday and called 911.

“I don’t think there’s anything we’ve done or said, just the fact that we’re elected officials,” Maestas said. “Hopefully they (law enforcement) can get some semblance of a motive.”

O’Malley and her husband were asleep when the gunfire hit the adobe wall surrounding their home, she said in an email.

“To say I’m angry about this attack on my home — on my family, is the least,” she said. “I remember thinking how thankful I was that my grandchildren didn’t spend the night and that those bullets didn’t go through my house.”

Lopez, a longtime state senator, said in a statement that three of the bullets fired into her home went through her 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom. Other bullets pierced a garage door and damaged a wall.

She urged the public to come forward with any information that would lead to an arrest, as Republican leaders in the New Mexico Senate did.

Barbois told Albuquerque television station KRQE that the bullets fired directly through her front door were traumatic, especially as families prepare to gather for the holidays.

“No one deserves threats and dangerous attacks like this,” she said.

Federal officials have warned of the potential for violence and attacks on government officials and buildings, and the Department of Homeland Security has said domestic extremism remains the top terrorist threat in the US

In October, an assailant sought out then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi broke into her home in San Francisco and used a hammer to attack her husband Paul, who suffered stab injuries and was hospitalized. Rioters who packed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and stopped the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory they roamed the halls shouting threatsdemanding “Where’s Nancy?”

Members of a paramilitary group were convicted of conspiracy to kidnap Governor of Michigan. And in August, an armed man opened fire on an FBI office in Ohio after posting online that federal agents should be killed “on the spot” after the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

In the US, election workers, judges, school board officials and other politicians have been harassed and persecuted, sending some into hiding.

In June, a man who has been arrested outside the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh said he was there to kill the justice after a leaked court opinion suggested the court would likely overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision establishing a nationwide right to abortion.

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, went into hiding for several weeks in December 2020 and January 2021 in response to online threats.

In 2020, New Mexico Democratic state senator Jacob Candelaria fled his home after receiving anonymous, threatening phone messages following his criticism of a protest outside the state Capitol against pandemic COVID-19 restrictions.

Maestas’ bill to protect judges documents 15 threats against judges and courthouses in 2021 alone, as well as a flurry of threats that shut down a court in northern New Mexico in 2018. The judge who oversaw a case involving the mysterious death of a child in a remote family compound retired after these threats.


Lee reported from Santa Fe. Associated Press reporters Terry Tang in Phoenix and Alana Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report.

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