January 18, 2023
On Monday, January 19, police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, arrested a former Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives in connection with multiple shootings at local Democratic politicians’ homes, reports HuffPost.
Solomon Peña is accused of conspiring with and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said. He was arrested after a brief standoff with a police SWAT team.
The department has been investigating at least six shootings between December 4 and January 5. Four of those have been linked to Peña, police said, and two others are still under investigation.
“It is believed that he is the mastermind behind this,” Medina said at a news conference Monday, per NBC News.
During one attack on Decembver 11, at least 12 bullets were fired at a county commissioner’s home, the Albuquerque Journal reported. On January 3, multiple shots were fired at State Representative Linda Lopez’s home—including three bullets that went through her ten-year-old daughter’s bedroom.
Peña launched an unsuccessful bid for New Mexico’s 14th House District in 2022, losing by 47 percentage points to his Democratic opponent, State Representative Miguel Garcia. The Albuquerque Journal notes that Peña has continued to dispute the results of the race, claiming election fraud.
Peña faced criticism during his bid after Garcia filed a suit to disqualify him from office over a 2008 conviction for stealing in a “smash and grab” robbery. Peña served seven years in prison, but a judge ruled that laws barring convicted felons from office were unconstitutional.
Research contact: @HuffPost