Weekend homicide: Pair hired as motel security before fatal shooting - Albuquerque Journal

Weekend homicide: Pair hired as motel security before fatal shooting

Casper Rickords

Two motel guests hired to serve as security over the weekend fatally shot a man in the parking lot of the Northeast Albuquerque business, according to the Albuquerque Police Department.

Casper Rickords, 22, and Melvin Robinson, 33, are each charged with an open count of murder, conspiracy and tampering with evidence in the death of 41-year-old Bradley Soza. The men are also charged in the Oct. 22 death of Isaac Torres, 19.

The SWAT team arrested the pair Monday and found two guns, five phones and a bulletproof vest in their motel room.

The men have been booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center. It is unclear if either man has an attorney.

Management at the Ambassador Inn told police the pair had stayed there for months and Robinson previously worked as security.

Police have said the hotel is one of several often associated with criminal activity in the city and last March a security guard at the motel was fatally shot.

Melvin Robinson 

On Monday, officers responded around 4:30 a.m. to reports of a man in the middle of the street near the motel on Candelaria NE, by the Pan American Freeway, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.

Police found Soza had been shot in the back and hours later crawled into the street where he was hit by a car.

Police said surveillance footage captured a Black man with a bulletproof vest hit Soza with a pole before a white man shot him once. Police said other footage showed the men going in and out of the office of the Ambassador Inn.

Hired as security for Ambassador Inn

The manager of the hotel told police she hired Robinson, who worked security there until an arrest last year, to act as security over the weekend while she left town.

After the men were arrested, Rickords told police the manager had gotten back to the motel shortly before Soza was asked to leave the property, according to the complaint. He said Robinson shot the man and then beat him with a pole.

Police said a detective confronted Rickords with footage of him firing the gun and he “became extremely emotional” and told them he shot Soza. Rickords said his and Robinson’s relationship was “romantic in nature and extremely violent.”

Robinson initially denied attacking Soza but then told police Rickords fired first before he shot at Soza but missed, according to the complaint.

Robinson told police Soza fell to the ground and said “I can’t believe you shot me” but he left, thinking Soza was “faking it.”

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