Suspect in Shootings at Homes and Offices of New Mexico Democrats Is in Custody

The authorities in Albuquerque announced Monday that a suspect in the recent shootings at the homes or offices of a half-dozen Democratic elected officials was in custody on unrelated charges and that they had recovered a gun used in at least one of the shootings.

Officials did not release information on the suspect other than to say that he is a man under 50; nor would they say what the unrelated charges were.

“We are still trying to link and see which cases are related and which cases are not related,” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said at a news conference on Monday afternoon.

Officials have ideas about a possible motive, Chief Medina said, but will not release details for fear of compromising the investigation.

The authorities have not definitively tied the shootings to politics or ideology.

Police officials asked the courts to seal all paperwork related to the case, Chief Medina said. He said that the authorities had numerous search warrants and were waiting for additional evidence.

No one was hurt in the shootings, four of which happened in December and two that took place this month. The shootings involved four homes, a workplace and a campaign office associated with two county commissioners, two state senators and New Mexico’s newly elected attorney general.

The police had provided details last week on five of the shootings. On Monday, they said that they were also investigating a shooting that occurred in early December and caused damage to the home of Javier Martínez, a New Mexico state representative set to become the State Legislature’s next speaker of the House.

Mr. Martínez said he had heard the gunfire in December, and recently discovered the damage after he heard of the attacks related to the other elected officials. He decided to inspect the outside of his home, KOB reported.

In addition to the Albuquerque Police Department, the New Mexico State Police and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the shootings.

If a federal crime was committed, the Police Department will pursue those charges, Chief Medina said. “The federal system has much stronger teeth than our state system,” he said.

The shootings came at a time when public officials have faced a surge in violent threats, extending from members of Congress to a Supreme Court justice.

Mayor Tim Keller of Albuquerque said he hoped the fact that a suspect was in custody would provides some comfort to elected officials, who he said should be able to do their jobs without fear.

“These are individuals who participate in democracy, whether we agree with them or not,” Mr. Keller said. “And that’s why this act of violence, I think, has been so rattling for so many people.”

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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