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Deputies have arrested one of several people suspected of firing shots into windows of the newly renovated Bernalillo County headquarters in Downtown Albuquerque on Monday, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
Noah Tapia, 20, is charged with criminal damage to property of over $1,000, shooting at a dwelling or occupied building, tampering with evidence and conspiracy.
Investigators said the early Monday morning gunfire caused $45,000 in damage to the Bernalillo County @ Alvarado Square building at Silver and Fourth SW as bullets shattered 10 windows and ruined a $5,000 painting.
The building is closed until Monday as crews repair the damage.
Tapia’s father, Michael, said his son is going to have to pay for any damage he may have done. He said he told his son to turn himself in once he found out about the incident.
“I thought he was on the right path doing the right thing,” Michael Tapia said. He said he noticed his son had been hanging out with a different crowd lately.
“When he takes off and goes with – I don’t know who the other guys are – they seem to get in trouble and do stupid (expletive),” Tapia said.
Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jayme Fuller said detectives are looking for additional shooters but no other arrests have been made.
“We are working good leads and making our way through additional surveillance and intel,” she said.
Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers on Tuesday released video showing a person firing a semi-automatic rifle out of the window of a truck as it was driven down Central Avenue in Downtown over the weekend.
Multiple tipsters called in to say that the truck belonged to Tapia, according to court records. BCSO found a photograph on Tapia’s Facebook of him holding a semi-automatic rifle in one hand and a submachine gun in the other while atop the parking structure of the Simms Building at Gold and Fifth SW.
“Heard that boy a loose screw so we hit him wit that hammer,” the photo caption reads beside an emoji of a hushing face and a gorilla.
Deputies pulled security camera video from the parking structure, which showed several vehicles on the top level around 3 a.m. Court records say that around that time numerous people are seen firing guns from the structure at the county building.
One of those people is seen getting into the truck later identified as belonging to Tapia, according to court records. Deputies searched Tapia’s home and afterward he showed up at the Downtown police headquarters to turn himself in.
“He stated he heard law enforcement was looking for him and wanted to turn himself in, but had nothing else to say,” a deputy wrote in court documents.
Investigators collected multiple shell casings from the top level of the parking structure and pulled a projectile that had embedded into a painting in the Alvarado Square building.
County spokeswoman Tia Bland would not identify the painting.
“Out of respect to the artist, we will hold off identifying the damaged art until the artist has been informed,” she said.
Tapia’s father said he was on vacation when he got a call from deputies who were searching his home. He said they asked for his gun safe combination and told him they would blow it open otherwise.
Tapia said BCSO took a couple of semi-automatic rifles from his safe but he said his son doesn’t have access to it. However, he said his son bought a similar rifle when he turned 18.
“I can’t believe that they would sell an 18-year-old a rifle like that. It’s just crazy,” Tapia said. “He hid everything from me. … It seemed like he was doing good. As far as I knew he was going to work and coming home.”
He said his son had just received a raise at Walmart, where he had been working as a forklift operator. Tapia said Noah is a “good kid” and had been living with him for a few months following a break up.
Tapia said he hadn’t spoken to his son since his arrest.
“He hasn’t called me. He’s probably worried that I’m pissed off,” he said. “… If he needs money then we’ll try to post a bond for him or whatever we have to do to help him survive. I was just glad it was nothing more serious.”