A closer look at crime around Albuquerque’s Ambassador Inn

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A fatal shooting Monday was just outside the Ambassador Inn, and police linked at least one suspect to that hotel. 

The Ambassador Inn has been a real sore spot for police. It’s located right at Candelaria and I-25.

Last year, police arrested Fidel Castillo there. They say he admitted to committing at least 10 armed robberies. 

But the biggest arrests tied to the Ambassador Inn over the past year all relate to homicides. 

“There was a homicide where a suspect fatally shot a security guard here who was very well known and well known to officers,” said APD Spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos about the night “Heath” Mora was killed inside the Ambassador Inn. 

Surveillance video from March 29, 2022 reportedly shows Donovan Bookout walking into the hotel, pulling out a gun and killing Mora before running away.

“It just so happened at the time, we were running an operation here at the hotel to try to crack down on some of the drug use and, and other illegal activity that was going on,” said Gallegos. 

Police say they saw Bookout try to carjack someone outside the hotel. 

During a confrontation, officers fired shots at Bookout. He wasn’t hit, but he was taken into custody. 

Bookout is currently in the Bernalillo County jail, charged with murder. 

“It goes to show that there has been a history of activity here or there’s another homicide suspect we tracked to this motel also last year, who was supposedly doing drug activity through this motel and others,” Gallegos said. 

He’s talking about the arrest of Joseph Garcia in August 2022. Police believe he murdered Andrew Aguilar last June at Coronado Park. 

Officers say he was part of the drug trade at both the park, and the Ambassador Inn. 

“So it is very worrisome, we’ve done operations in the past to try to cut down on the crime. I believe the city will be reaching out to this motel ownership and to talk further,” said Gallegos.  

Gallegos says the city has programs in place to work with property owners to prevent crime. It includes having owners install surveillance cameras, and possibly even license plate readers.

He says the city is ready to take action against property owners who are unwilling to do their part to help curb crime. 

“We are perfectly prepared to take legal action against them, and that’s what we’ll be announcing soon – some legal action against some properties,” said Gallegos.