Former GOP candidate accused of orchestrating shootings at homes of Democrats
A former Republican candidate for the New Mexico House of Representatives was arrested Monday for allegedly organizing men to shoot at the homes of Democrats in the state, police announced.
Four local Democratic officials in Albuquerque had their homes targeted by gunfire in four separate incidents from Dec. 4, 2022, to Jan. 3, the Albuquerque Police Department said in a press release.
Solomon Peña will be charged in connection to shootings at the homes of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, on Dec. 4, 2022; New Mexico House Speaker Javier Martinez, on Dec. 8; then-Bernalillo Commissioner Debbie O'Malley, on Dec. 11, and state Sen. Linda Lopez on Jan. 3, according to the APD.
"APD has arrested Solomon Peña for the recent shootings at local lawmakers' homes," Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina tweeted. "Peña, an unsuccessful legislative candidate in the 2022 election, is accused of conspiring with, and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of 2 county commissioners and 2 state legislators."
No one was injured in the shootings, and police expect to file charges for the other men who were allegedly involved.
Peña allegedly "paid the men cash and sent text messages with addresses where he wanted them to shoot at the homes," the APD said in the press release.
He also allegedly "went with the men and attempted to shoot at one of the homes, but the AR handgun he was using malfunctioned. Another shooter fired more than a dozen rounds from a separate handgun," according to police.
The county commissioners and state senator said Peña "showed up uninvited at their homes in November after the election" and "provided them with documents that he said indicated fraud in the election results," the APD said.
Peña lost his race for state House District 14 to incumbent Rep. Miguel Garcia by more than 3,600 votes, police said.
"Garcia had sued Peña in August 2022, arguing that Peña was not eligible to serve in the legislature because he is a convicted felon and was not pardoned by the governor," the APD said. "A judge ruled in September that Peña could remain on the ballot because the law is unconstitutional."
Police allege that Peña hired people to shoot at their homes as a form of retribution.
"He had complaints about his election, he felt it was rigged," Medina said. "As the mayor said, [...] he doesn't want to accept the results of the election. So he approached all of these commissioners and the senators at their home with paperwork claiming that [...] there was fraud involved in those elections."
Police said it was police work matching shell casings that connected the crimes.
A SWAT team moved in and made the arrest Monday, according to police.
Police presented a picture of the suspect in which he can be seen wearing a MAGA sweatshirt and standing in front of Trump flags.
There was no immediate contact information for Peña available.