This defeated GOP candidate plotted to shoot elected Democrats’ homes, police say
After Republican Solomon Peña lost his election to New Mexico’s state house, police say he conspired to shoot at the homes of two state lawmakers and two county commissioners, all Democrats.
A failed Republican candidate for the New Mexico Legislature was taken into custody Monday by SWAT officers after being linked to a series of shootings targeting Democratic elected officials’ homes.
Solomon Peña, who ran for the New Mexico House of Representatives and was defeated by the Democratic incumbent who captured nearly 74% of the vote, allegedly conspired with four other men to discharge weapons at the homes of two state lawmakers and two county commissioners, police said.
“It is believed that he is the mastermind that was behind this, and that he was organizing this,” said Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina in a KOB4 report.
Peña’s arrest came the day before the start of New Mexico’s legislative session.
“APD essentially discovered what we had all feared, and what we had suspected, that these shootings were indeed politically motivated, and that has basically been confirmed by this investigation,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, a Democrat, said in an NPR report.
According to court documents, Peña is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, four counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling, four counts of shooting at or from a moving vehicle, one count of attempted aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, four counts of conspiracy and criminal solicitation, USA Today reported.
A criminal complaint reveals bullets fired into state Sen. Linda Lopez’s home caused sheetrock and dust to land in the face of her 10-year-old daughter as she slept in bed, according to USA Today.
Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa said in a statement that she returned home from Christmas shopping in early December to discover “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.”
Peña is a supporter of former President Donald Trump. When Trump announced that he would run for reelection in 2024, Peña tweeted, “I stand with him. I never conceded my HD 14 race. Now researching my options,” NPR reported.
Barboa’s statement continued: “Solomon Peña is an election denier. He weaponized those dangerous thoughts to threaten me and others, causing serious trauma. When politicians at the highest levels of our government continue to make threats and violence a regular part of public discourse, it has real impacts on our democracy and lives.”
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham released this statement:
“I commend the Albuquerque Police Department, State Police and the District Attorney’s Office for a successful partnership to apprehend the suspected perpetrator. There is no place in our society or our democracy for violence against any elected official or their families, and I trust the justice system will hold those responsible for such attacks to full and fair account.”