A former captain with the Houston Police Department was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after running an innocent air conditioner repairman off the road and holding him at gunpoint as part of a bizarre voter fraud conspiracy theory, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Tuesday.
Mark Anthony Aguirre, 63, told police officers that he was part of a voter fraud investigation with the "Liberty Center," as they questioned him after the Oct. 19 incident, Ogg's office stated. For his work, Aguirre had reportedly been paid more than a quarter of a million dollars, the bulk of which had been deposited into his bank account shortly after he rammed his SUV into the unnamed repairman's truck, forcing it off the road. He and an unnamed accomplice then held the repairman at gunpoint and drove the truck to a nearby parking lot where they discovered various mechanical repair equipment, and not the 750,000 fraudulent ballots Aguirre believed was being transported by the victim.
“He crossed the line from dirty politics to commission of a violent crime," Ogg said in a statement announcing Aguirre's criminal charge. "We are lucky no one was killed."
The Liberty Center, which describes its purpose on Facebook as providing "the bold and courageous leadership necessary to restore our nation to its Godly heritage by following the strategy that our pilgrim forefathers gave us, which is to love God, and to place our hope and faith in the God of the Bible," confirmed to the Houston Chronicle that Aguirre was one of 20 private investigators it had hired to look into voter fraud allegations in the 2020 presidential election. The group is headed by longtime Texas GOP donor and agitator Steven Hotze, who this past summer urged Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to authorize the national guard to kill social justice protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
"I want to make sure that he has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches," he said in a voicemail left with Abbott's chief of staff. "That’s the only way you restore order. Kill 'em. Thank you."
During his interview with the arresting officer after the Oct. 19 incident, Aguirre reportedly gave the officer the choice of being part of the problem or the solution, saying, "I just hope you’re a patriot."
Aguirre had been fired from the Houston Police Department more than a decade ago, after leading a botched raid that unsuccessfully targeted car racers in the city. Aguirre later argued that he'd been "betrayed by my co-workers and my police department" and claimed he had a "gut feeling" that the mayor had dropped all the charges from the raid in order to protect the police chief at the time.
Speaking about his new charges, Ogg described the "alleged investigation" into voter fraud as being "backward from the start" by "first alleging a crime had occurred and then trying to prove it happened."