A failed Republican candidate for the New Mexico state legislature was arrested Monday in connection with a series of shootings at the homes and offices of local Democratic officials, police said.
Solomon Pena, 39, is accused of conspiring with four other men he allegedly paid to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said. “It is believed that he is the mastermind behind it,” said Medina accordingly NBC News.
After ballistics evidence from one of the shootings led investigators to link him to the case, Pena was taken into custody by a SWAT team in Albuquerque after a brief standoff. Footage of the arrest by one Albuquerque Journal Reporters showed a man in glasses and a sweatshirt being meekly escorted to a squad car before being frisked and placed in the vehicle.
The first of the four Pena-related incidents occurred on December 4, when eight rounds were fired at the home of the Bernalillo County Commissioner in southeast Albuquerque AdrianBarbara. On December 10, the former campaign offices of Raúl Torrez, the new Attorney General, were shot at. Just a day later, more than a dozen shots rang out at the home of former Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley.
Finally, on Jan. 3, eight shots were fired at the home of Sen. Linda Lopez, who said in a statement that three of the bullets went through her 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom.
“APD essentially found what we all feared and suspected, that these shootings were in fact politically motivated,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said Monday.
Police said they had no evidence to link Pena to two other similar shootings in recent weeks — a Dec. 10 incident at the home of State House Speaker-elect Javier Martinez and a Jan. 5 report from outside the offices of newly appointed Senator Antonio “Moe” Maestas.
No injuries were reported in any of the six shootings.
Less than a month before the shooting at Barboa’s home, Pena lost the race for the 14th Ward of New Mexico House, which oversees Albuquerque’s South Valley area, by 47 percentage points. His Democratic opponent, MP Miguel Garcia, received 5,679 votes to Peñas’ 2,033, according to the diary.
“I disagree,” Pena tweeted on November 9th. “I am the MAGA king.”
In the days following his defeat, Pena repeatedly asserted that he did not lose the election, tweet on November 15 that he “never conceded my HD 14 race” and that he “[n]I am now researching my options.”
Over the summer, Garcia launched a legal challenge to prevent Pena from running for office, arguing that the 39-year-old’s conviction for a series of “smash and grab” robberies at several major department stores in 2008 disqualified him. Pena served seven years in prison for the program. In September, a district judge ruled that a state law barring former felons from holding office in most circumstances was unconstitutional, paving the way for Pena’s candidacy.
“I had nothing but a desire to better my lot in life,” Pena said loudly at the time KOAT TV.
State records obtained from the Santa Fe New Mexicans in August, 19 crimes were listed on Pena’s criminal record, including “burglary, theft, contribution to juvenile delinquency and theft of property,” the newspaper reported.
Reached for comment by the New Mexican, Pena initially invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges against self-incrimination before later telling the reporter that he believed only certain types of criminals, like “a child rapist,” would get voters to fight back at the ballot box . He later reportedly texted the reporter: “I hope you’re rich. Be peaceful.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/solomon-pena-arrested-over-shootings-at-new-mexico-democrats-homes-say-cops?source=articles&via=rss Solomon Pena has been arrested for shootings at Democrat homes in New Mexico, according to cops