HOUSTON — A former Texas police captain has been charged with holding an innocent air conditioner repairman at gunpoint in the mistaken belief he was involved in a fantasy voter fraud conspiracy, prosecutors said.
The Harris County District Attorney’s office says former Houston police captain Mark Anthony Aguirre, 63, had gone to authorities before the presidential election claiming knowledge of a massive voter fraud scheme in Houston.
Soon after, Aguirre was accused of running a man off the road and pointing a gun at his head in an attempt to prove his claims, prosecutors said.
“He crossed the line from dirty politics to commission of a violent crime and we are lucky no one was killed,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “His alleged investigation was backward from the start – first alleging a crime had occurred and then trying to prove it happened.”
According to court documents, Aguirre told police shortly after the Oct. 19 incident, “that he was part of a group of private citizens called, ‘Liberty Center,’ who were conducting a civilian investigation into the alleged ballot scheme.”
According to court documents, Aguirre said he had been reviewing surveillance on the repairman for four days, accusing the victim of being the mastermind of a giant fraud, saying 750,000 fraudulent ballots were inside a truck the repairman was driving.
Prosecutors said the accused victim was actually “an innocent and ordinary air conditioner repairman.”
According to court documents, Aguirre ran his SUV into the back of the truck, trying to get the repairman to stop. When the repairman got out of the truck, Aguirre pointed a handgun at the man, forced him to the ground and put his knee on the man’s back.
Investigators found that there were no ballots in the truck and instead, it was filled with air conditioning parts and tools.
According to court documents, Aguirre had been paid a total of $266,400 by the Houston-based Liberty Center for God and Country, with $211,400 of that amount being deposited into his account the day after the incident.
Aguirre’s claims of election fraud were found to be false, according to court documents.
Attorney Jared Woodfill of the Liberty Center, said they had hired Mr. Aguirre’s private investigation firm and that he had a team of approximately 20 investigators on the case.
Woodfill adds, “[We] didn’t know what he was doing. We find it hard to believe that Captain Aguirre would go stop a car, pull someone out and put a gun to his head.”
Aguirre has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison.