Murder at an EV Charge Station

By Paul Gipe

It was bound to happen sooner or later in such a violent society and of course it had to happen first in Bakersfield, California, a place often described as hardscrabble in the foreign press.

State corrections employee Benny Alcala Jr. was shot to death 24 August 2022 at an Electrify America station in the parking lot of a Target store while he charged his car. Alcala was said to be charging his car before taking it on a trip.

Local news reported that Alcala was likely targeted because he drove an electric car and “likely had money” for that reason.

A make ship memorial at the Electrify America station where Correctional Officer Benny Alcala Jr. was murdered while charging his car.

Photos on Plugshare show the DC fast charge station as well lit. Not all stations are in as public and frequented a location as the Target parking lot in a high end shopping center. I visited the site on a Friday morning and all stations were occupied with one Ford van waiting.

Unfortunately, the station is near the Kern River and the Park at River Walk where there are many homeless encampments.

Alcala’s wife showed up to the scene when she was notified that the car had been charging too long.

The accused murderer could get the death penalty. Local news said he texted an acquaintance that he’d “just killed someone.”

Alcala was shot at about 8.30 pm as he tried to walk away from one of the accused who approached Alcala for a handout.

Ironically, Alcala, 43, worked for the California Department of Corrections as a counselor.

Bakersfield Californian reporter Ishani Desai has extensively reported on the case and interviewed one of the two defendants in jail.

Desai reported that the two homeless men had been drinking in the nearby park. They ran out of liquor and went to the shopping center to get drinks. When they were leaving one of the stores they saw Alcala walking out of Target with groceries.

Alcala went to his car at the charge station. One of the men, Robert Roberts, told the other man he wanted money to get out of Bakersfield. Roberts approached Alcala, who began walking away. Roberts followed Alcala, and then a shot rang out, according to the second man.

Both men now been charged with murder and Robert’s defense attorney has demanded that the Californian turn over Desai’s jailhouse notes. The Californian refused, embroiling the newspaper in a First Amendment case shielding newspapers from revealing its sources. The dispute has suspended the case until September.

Sadly, Alcala’s murder was just the first documented case. 6 May 2023 Adam Michael Fresquez, 33, was shot to death at a Tesla Supercharger station in Edgewater, Colorado after an altercation. Both the victim and the murderer were driving Teslas and both were armed.