Man Shoots at Cuban Embassy: Authorities Suspect ‘Hate Crime’ But Police Say Shooter’s Motivation is Unknown

Cuban Embassy Shooting

Bullet holes are visible on a column behind a statue of Cuban independence hero José Martí as Secret Service officers investigate after police say a person with an assault rifle opened fire at the Cuban Embassy, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Washington. Officers found the suspect with an assault rifle and took the person into custody without incident, police said. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

By Michael Balsamo, AP

A man armed with an assault rifle was arrested after opening fire outside the Cuban Embassy in Washington early Thursday, his bullets tearing holes into the walls and pillars near the front entrance in what authorities suspect was a hate crime.

The gunfire broke out around 2 a.m. outside the embassy in northwest Washington. Metropolitan Police Department officers were called to the scene after neighbors reported hearing gunshots, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

Officers found the man, Alexander Alazo, 42, of Aubrey, Texas, armed with an assault rifle, and they and took him into custody without incident, police said.

A police report obtained by The Associated Press describes the shooting as a “suspected hate crime” and says Alazo “knowingly discharged multiple rounds from an AK-47 rifle into the Cuban Embassy.” But the report also says Alazo’s motivation is unknown.

Officers recovered the rifle, ammunition and a white powdery substance that was found in a small baggie after Alazo’s arrest, according to the report.

Alazo was arrested on charges of possessing an unregistered firearm and ammunition, assault with intent to kill and possessing a high-capacity magazine, a U.S. Secret Service spokeswoman said.

Alazo remained in custody Thursday. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had a lawyer.

Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that embassy staff members were “safe and protected” but that the shooting caused “material damage” to the building. Photos showed large holes left in the building’s facade near the front door and in pillars outside the building.

The Cuban government didn’t know the suspect’s potential motives, the statement said, adding that the State Department was aware of the incident.

“It is the obligation of States to adopt appropriate steps to protect the premises of diplomatic missions accredited to their country against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity,” the statement said.

A bullet hole is visible in a statue of Cuban national hero Jose Marti after police say a person with an assault rifle opened fire at the Cuban Embassy, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Photos from the scene posted to social media showed a group of police officers outside the embassy after the shooting and investigators searching through an SUV parked there. Other images showed investigators surveying the damage in front of the ornate embassy in Washington’s Adams-Morgan neighborhood, including a bullet hole in a window over the front door and damage to a flagpole and a column flanking a statue of Cuban independence hero José Martí.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Department and the Secret Service were investigating.


  1. avatar FedUp says:

    An AK47 is not an assault rifle – quit repeating the liberal lies!

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      yes, we know, but look at the attribution and you’ll see this is an AP article re-print.

    2. avatar Hydguy says:

      An AK-47, and the AK-74, is an assault rifle, by definition.
      However, I highly doubt that he had an actual AK-47, as transferable AK’s are kinda expensive.
      So chances are he had a semi-automatic rifle, which is not an assault rifle by definition.
      The Marine Corps defines an assault rifle as:
      A light weight, gas operated, air cooled rifle, fired from the shoulder, capable of select fire (semi-automatic and either fully automatic or burst fire) and fed from an external box magazine. An actual AK-47 fits that definition. An M-16/M-4 also fits that definition.

  2. avatar Otto Lode says:


  3. avatar MtnDewey says:

    I didn’t know you had to have a registered weapon and ammo. “intent” to kill??? at 2 a.m.? high-capacity magazine? I don’t Texas laws, can someone please school me?

    1. avatar neiowa says:


      The guy was in the Peoples Rep of DC

  4. avatar possum says:

    Here is what Sgt John Jackson told me when I was getting cocky about my medal. ” You know what that purple heart and a quarter will do state side,? By you a cup of coffee.”

  5. avatar BOBO says:

    little low on shot placement on the statue…

  6. avatar Hydguy says:

    Why is the Secret Service involved? The President wasn’t a target, and there was no counterfeit money involved.

    Personally, I’d give the guy a pass. If he had killed any of the commie fucks, I’d say give him a medal.

    1. avatar Dev says:

      The Secret Service also protects foreign dignitaries, that’s probably why they are involved.

      1. avatar Hydguy says:

        Overstepping their boundaries, according to their actual job description.
        As I said, it was a communist embassy.. give the guy a pass..

  7. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    maybe a Cuban himself? possible…

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      My first thought. Which would mean it isn’t a racial hate crime, but hatred of the Cuban government. I somehow think that hating a government is not a hate crime.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Alexander Alazo doesn’t sound like the standard issue red neck name.

        1. avatar 9x39 says:

          +1 Was about to suggest the same.

  8. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    Seems like the guy was just expressing himself, rather vigorously though. At least he did it when it was closed.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Are embassy’s ever completely closed? Aren’t there at least security and cleaning staff after hours?

  9. avatar Dude says:

    Really all violent crimes are hate crimes, no? Should the sentence be based on why the victim is hated?

    1. avatar CentralVirginian says:

      Indeed, hate is only a motive. The crime was shooting at a building that might have had people in it. Its not like his reason for doing it made it more heinous.

  10. avatar pwrserge says:

    I fail to see the crime… He shot up the embassy of a genocidal communist dictatorship we should be at war with. Where is the problem?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      The point is we are not…..oh why do I fucking bother?

      1. avatar Dave G. says:

        jwm: Plus 1.

    2. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

      We should not be at war with anyone.

      If a guy wants to shoot up an embassy that is between him and them and the US should not be involved.

  11. avatar Silentbrick says:

    Maybe they refused to sell him any more Bolivian nose powder? Might just be a disgruntled customer.

  12. avatar GS650G says:

    At least he didn’t use an ultrasonic weapon and cause brain damage to the inhabitants.

  13. avatar Jay says:

    “ Alazo was arrested on charges of possessing an unregistered firearm and ammunition, assault with intent to kill and possessing a high-capacity magazine, a U.S. Secret Service spokeswoman said.

    Question how was he arrested for:
    1) unregistered firearm when there’s no registration requirements
    2) high capacity magazine when there’s no magazine limit in Florida?

    How was a Spanish person shooting at the embassy considered a hate crime?

    1. avatar Jay says:

      Ignore comment.

      I just read an article about Florida jits before this and crossed the two in my head.

  14. avatar HEGEMON says:

    OK, why is this a h as te crime? I’ll wait.

  15. avatar HEGEMON says:


  16. avatar Specialist38 says:

    May have just thought he was at the Robertson’s estate in North Louisiana.

    You know…got lost due to the “powdery substance”.

  17. avatar Dog of War says:

    Of course ‘authorities’ suspect a hate crime. Racism is the go to explanation for everything now-a-days. If a man farts within 3 counties of a POC a democrat will declare it a hate crime and at least 3 news articles will be written about it.

  18. avatar Dave G. says:

    It amazes me how many commenters here seem to think it’s okay to shoot up an embassy. I wonder how they like it when somebody shoots up a US embassy?

    1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

      Well, as far as I can tell it is just fine to shoot up a US embassy. I mean Hillary never did go to jail for her part in it.

    2. avatar Hydguy says:

      Cuba is still a hostile government, and they shouldn’t have an embassy in the US. They are evil, just like the Useless Nations, and both should be kicked out.

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