The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) arrested Former State House of Representatives GOP candidate Solomon Peña. Officials took swift action after a string of shootings at the homes of New Mexico state and local Democratic leaders. Subsequently, Albuquerque’s SWAT team took him into custody on Monday.
Despite Peña losing his 2022 bid to unseat District 14 House incumbent Democrat Miguel P. Garcia by a large margin of 76% to 26%, he alleged election fraud. Peña waited eight days after the landslide loss to post a tweet: “Trump just announced for 2024. I stand with him. I never conceded my HD14 race. Now researching options.” By all accounts, his choices included shooting prominent Democrats.
His Twitter posts and responses reveal a defiant and vulgar-mouthed bigoted, failed MAGA candidate. Peña wrote: “No. It is rigged. Plain and simple,” when challenged about his loss.
Furthermore, he corrected StageWranglerGizmo, whose tweet pointed out that the Republican was previously convicted of “19 felonies, including burglary, larceny, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and receiving stolen property. He spent almost seven years in prison,” seemingly quoting major news companies.
No, Peña boasted, “it was 9 years, three days,” as if it was a badge of honor.
Peña’s Shooting Conspiracy Plot
During a press conference, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said the 39-year-old was “the mastermind” in the conspiracy to shoot the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators: He hired four other men to carry out his plan.
According to The New York Times, the police stated that Peña had paid his accomplices in cash. He also texted them the addresses of the Democrats’ homes he wanted them to shoot.
Peña’s arrest followed the latest shooting on January 3, 2023. According to the APD, the accused joined his guns-for-hire at Democratic State Senator Linda Lopez’s home. However, the automatic rifle Peña used malfunctioned.
One of his accomplices unleashed over a dozen rounds from a handgun. The police said he fired several shots into the Senator’s daughter’s room.
Forty minutes later, the APD stopped a car registered to the accused. The police arrested the driver, Jose Trujillo, on an unrelated felony warrant. During the vehicle’s search, officers discovered shell casings from the handgun used during the shooting of Lopez’s residence.
The current shooting is one of several tied to Peña’s conspiracy. Someone fired eight rounds on December 4, 2022 at Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa. The next shots were fired at State Representative Javier Martinez’s home on December 8. Another Bernalillo County commissioner, Debbie O’Malley’s residence, was also targeted on December 11.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
NBC News: Losing GOP candidate arrested in string of shootings at New Mexico Democrats’ homes; by Dennis Romero
The New York Times: Republican ex-state House candidate arrested for allegedly orchestrating shootings at homes of Democrats in New Mexico, police say; by Jennifer Henderson
HuffPost: Failed GOP Candidate Arrested In String Of Shootings At New Mexico Democrats’ Homes; by Nick Visser