A man arrested by Albuquerque police is believed to be the “mastermind” behind a recent spate of shootings that targeted the homes of Democratic politicians. He was arrested on Monday.
The accused, Republican Solomon Pena, campaigned for office and lost in November. He has often claimed the election was fraudulent; he also seems to have been present at the violence in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021.
APD’s SWAT team surrounded a condominium building close to the ABQ BioPark Zoo at about 3 p.m. to carry out a warrant. Drones soared above as they made appeals to Pena, who they claimed might be carrying a gun, to surrender.
Police Chief Harold Medina reported on Monday night that within an hour, officers apprehended Pena, who is charged with hiring four individuals to fire shots at the residences of two county commissioners and two state lawmakers.
Additionally, according to the authorities, Pena was in attendance for at least one of the attacks.
Jose Trujillo, who is among the four men Pena is charged with recruiting, is facing federal charges related to drug trafficking and firearms; although the other suspects’ names were initially withheld.
Rachel Maddow on Solomon Pena the failed GOP candidate/Trump supporter who was behind the shooting of the homes of New Mexico Democratic politicians, "Local coverage of his candidacy has noted that he is…a gushing supporter of former president Donald Trump." pic.twitter.com/hdgPYp8EQp
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) January 17, 2023
Pena, who was a candidate for the House District 14 seat, but lost, asserted on social media that he ought to have won. In November, he went unannouncedly to the houses of three of the targeted individuals and complained the election was invalid.
Mayor Tim Keller hosted a press release where he stated that APD found his fears were valid – these assaults were politically motivated and are dangerous attacks on democracy in general, as much as on these particular people.
Republican House Leader Ryan Lane and Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham both released comments praising law enforcement and denouncing violence.
According to Lujan Grisham, violence against any elected person or their family has no place in society or in a democracy; they have faith that the legal system will punish those guilty of such crimes fully and fairly.
The former Republican candidate Solomon Pena arrested in connection with 4 of 6 shootings targeting New Mexico Dems, has a criminal record & served time for 19 felonies — Including burglary, larceny, contributing to the delinquency of a minor & receiving stolen property. pic.twitter.com/sPjhzxph2p
— Christopher Webb (@cwebbonline) January 17, 2023
Lane mentioned Pena’s criminal record, which was a contentious topic during the campaign, and expressed the gratitude of the New Mexico House Republicans that no one was hurt in the attacks.
According to Lane, this is another instance of a convicted criminal obtaining a firearm illegally that they are not allowed to own or carry and utilizing it to hurt the public.
Early in January, APD reported it was looking into a number of shootings that had targeted the houses of Democratic elected figures in the city.
Political Violence is Unacceptable
They claimed that on December 4, eight bullets hit the home of Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa in Southeast Albuquerque. One week later, on December 11, more than 12 rounds hit the home of County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley in North Valley.
On January 3, three bullets entered the bedroom of state representative Linda Lopez’s 10-year-old daughter as she slept after gunfire erupted outside her home in Southwest Albuquerque.