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Lawmakers targeted by shootings offered security

Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department Badge
Shane T. McCoy
/
US Marshals
Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa's home was shot up on Dec. 4, 2022. Since the Albuquerque Police Department identified a pattern between that shooting and the homes and offices of four other Democratic officials being shot at since, she says the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office has provided her a 24-hour escort.

After five Democratic lawmakers in Albuquerque had their homes or offices shot at over the past month, two officials told KUNM they have been offered security as the investigation proceeds.

While no one was injured, those targeted are alarmed.

“I live in the house I grew up in, and I have never worried. Like, I always have the doors open, windows open. And now I feel different,” Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa told KUNM. Her home was shot at on December 4.

Since the Albuquerque Police Department identified a pattern Thursday — with the homes and offices of four other Democratic officials being shot at since hers, including two state senators just this week — she said the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office has provided her security.

“The Sheriff has a 24-hour escort on me,” she said. “That feels at least reassuring.”

She acknowledged that most Albuquerque community members who are the targets of gun violence do not receive this kind of security or multi-agency investigation into their cases and said she empathizes with them and the trauma they’ve endured.

The homes of former-Commissioner Debbie O’Malley and state Sen. Linda Lopez have also been shot at, along with the former campaign headquarters of now-Attorney General Raúl Torrez. A spokesperson for Torrez's office said he will not comment unless the shooting at his campaign office is definitively connected to the others.

The office of state Sen. Moe Maestas is the latest site in the string of shootings. He said he wasn’t at the office when it was shot at Thursday, but was informed by a colleague.

“Within 20 minutes, I’d read the news about my three colleagues whose houses had gotten shot, so I figured there may be a connection,” he said. “So I called the chief and let him know.”

He told KUNM that APD and Mayor Tim Keller “sprung into action," and that, as a state lawmaker, the State Police is charged with protecting him.

“I don’t know about everybody, but my home is under surveillance,” he said.

Both lawmakers said they have heard from numerous colleagues expressing concern and support, including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in Barboa’s case and newly-appointed District Attorney Sam Bregman for Maestas.

“Everyone’s just rallying,” Maestas said. “A lot of love from all corners of the state."

The FBI and state police are assisting in the investigation. It is not yet clear if the five shootings are connected.

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.
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