The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office has charged a man who has a criminal record in at least three other states with raping an 8-year-old Santa Fe girl.
Salvador Hernandez-Garcia, 33, faces four counts of first-degree sexual penetration of a minor and a count of threatening or bribing a witness.
The girl told investigators Hernandez-Garcia abused her multiple times between June and October 2020, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
In another case, court records show, local prosecutors charged him with shooting inside an Española apartment in December. But District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said Monday her office dismissed those counts at the request of federal prosecutors, who asked to bring the gun charge under federal statutes that carry more severe penalties than state law.
Court records list several addresses for Hernandez-Garcia, including residences in Santa Fe and Española, and show he’s also been charged with crimes in Utah, North Carolina and Texas. He was classified as fugitive from justice in Texas when Española police encountered him in late December.
Texas issued a nationwide warrant for Hernadez-Garcia’s arrest in 2015, after he was accused of violating his probation. It’s not entirely clear from online courts records which case in Texas prompted the warrant. But a motion seeking his detention until trial says he was arrested in Hidalgo County, Texas, in March 2012 on suspicion of being in possession of more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana.
Carmack-Altwies said an investigation into the Dec. 30 shooting uncovered information that led to the child rape charge.
According to an Española police report of the incident, Hernandez-Garcia initially ignored commands officers gave over a loudspeaker for him to exit a building, but eventually complied and told them he’d been jumped and hit in the face with a rifle.
He told police there were other people inside the apartment and a body, the report says. But when officers entered, they did not find either.
What they did find, the report says, were three empty rifle shell casings on the ground next to an “AR-15 type” rifle.
Witnesses told police Hernandez-Garcia had been shooting the weapon inside the building, where other adults and children were present.
Hernandez-Garcia is being held in the Santa Fe County jail and is set to be arraigned in the rape case next month, according to online records.