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UPDATE: APD charges suspects for Monday's homicide

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023

ALBUQUERQUE – APD detectives added murder charges for two men who are accused of fatally shooting Bradley Soza, 41, near the Ambassador Inn early Monday.


The suspects, Melvin Robinson and Casper Rickords, were arrested late Monday and charged with a separate murder from October 2022. However, they could not charge the suspects for Monday’s murder until the Office of the Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy of Soza and ruled the death a homicide. OMI ruled the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the back. The victim, Soza, was also accidentally run over by a vehicle about three hours after the shooting.


Homicide at 1500 Candelaria Rd NE

Detectives determined through video surveillance that Soza was seen at 1:39 a.m. limping along the sidewalk on the south side of Candelaria Rd. N.W. Two offenders approached him. One offender raised a handgun to the victim’s head and appeared to strike the victim several times with a metal pole. The second offender shot the victim who fell to the ground and the other offender struck the victim with the pole while he was on the ground.


Additional video surveillance from the Ambassador Inn helped detectives identify the two suspects as Robinson, 33, and Rickords, 22. Robinson has done security work for the motel in the past and said he was doing so on Monday when he spotted a man outside the motel. They approached him and told him to leave. Both suspects eventually admitted to police that they fired handguns at the victim and left him at the spot near the road.


Detectives executed search warrants at a room where Robinson and Rickords were staying at the Ambassador Inn. They seized several items including live ammunition, cell phones, a duty belt and gun cleaning kit. Detectives also executed a search warrant at the Extend-a-Suite, located at 2108 Menaul Blvd., N.E., where Robinson and Rickords were arrested. Detectives seized two handguns, one with an extended magazine, five sell phones, and black body armor.


Homicide 100 1st Street SW

As detectives watched surveillance video of Monday’s shooting near the Ambassador Inn, they recognized the shooters as resembling the suspects in a separate investigation from October 2022. Detectives also recovered a distinctive moped in the office of the Ambassador Inn that appears to be the moped used by the men during the October homicide.


Detectives tracked Rickords and Robinson to the Extend-a-Suites, located at 2108 Menaul Blvd., N.E. SWAT officers took them into custody and homicide detectives questioned the men about both homicides.


After questioning, detectives charged Rickords and Robinson for the Oct. 21, 2022, murder of Isaac Torres. They were booked early this morning into the Metro Detention Center on open counts of murder, conspiracy and tampering with evidence.


Rickords and Robinson are accused of fatally shooting Torres shortly before midnight on Oct. 21 outside the Alvarado Transportation Center in Downtown Albuquerque. The men said they attempted to sell Torres a small amount of marijuana. A confrontation ensued over a gun that Robinson had in his possession. Both men shot Torres and one of them took money from Torres after the shooting.