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Ex-GOP House Candidate Arrested in Shootings at Four Democrats’ Homes

Solomon Peña, a former Republican House candidate from New Mexico, was arrested Monday for allegedly orchestrating a string of drive-by shootings that targeted four Democratic leaders in the state, Albuquerque police say.

Peña, who lost his 2022 race to incumbent Rep. Miguel P. Garcia (D) and claimed election fraud following his defeat, paid four men to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators and even involved himself in one of the shootings, Albuquerque police acting commander, Kyle Hartsock, said yesterday at a news conference. 

“It is believed he is the mastermind” behind the shootings that happened in December and early January, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said at the conference.

After the November election, Peña paid unnamed individuals in cash–at least $500 was exchanged between the men–and sent text messages with addresses where he wanted them to carry out the shootings.

“Within hours in one case, the shooting took place at the lawmaker’s home,” Hartsock said. “On the last shooting, we now have evidence that Peña himself went on this shooting and actually pulled the trigger on at least one of the firearms that was used.”

Prior to the shootings and after his loss, Peña in November had arrived uninvited at the homes of one of the legislators and some county commissioners with paperwork that supposedly indicated fraud was involved in the elections. 

Further evidence compiled against Peña and his direct involvement in the crimes includes possession of firearms, extensive phone records, surveillance footage, and witness testimonies from both inside and outside the conspiracy. 

The first shooting took place on December 4th at the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa in Southeast Albuquerque. The second shooting occurred on the morning of December 8th, when several shots were fired at House Speaker Javier Martinez’s home. 

“In early December, I returned from Christmas shopping to my home being shot up. It was terrifying. My house had four shots through the front door and windows, where just hours before my grandbaby and I were playing in the living room,” Barboa wrote in a Facebook post.

The third shooting targeted the North Valley home of Bernalillo Commissioner Debbie O’Malley on December 11th, followed by Peñas fourth and final attack on January 3rd, when he and his gunmen opened fire at Senator Linda Lopez’s residence in Southwest Albuquerque. 

Five people overall were involved in the conspiracy, but it is unclear if the hired gunmen knew the targets were elected Democrats, according to police. The investigation remains ongoing, Hartsock said, and wouldn’t specify how many of the suspects have been taken into custody. 

Said Javier Martinez, “We have seen far too much political violence lately and all of these events are powerful reminders that stirring up fear, heightening tensions, and stoking hatred can have devastating consequences.”


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