Former Republican candidate arrested in connection with shootings at Democratic homes

ALBUQUERQUE – A failed Republican candidate who authorities say was angry at his loss and made unsubstantiated claims last November’s election was “rigged” against him has been arrested in connection with a series of drive-by shootings at the homes of Democratic lawmakers in Albuquerque.

Solomon Peña, 39, allegedly paid four men in cash to fire on the homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two state legislators, police said. The addresses of the residences were allegedly sent to him by text message.

Not only that, in one of the incidents, Peña allegedly accompanied the suspects and tried to shoot one of the houses, but the AR pistol he was using did not work. Another shooter fired more than a dozen rounds from a separate pistol.

On Monday afternoon APD agents arrested Peña, after they served a search warrant at his home and conducted a SWAT activation. Now the main suspect in the case is being charged for four of the six shootings at homes of elected leaders in Albuquerque.

It is worth noting that no one was injured in the shootings. Meanwhile, detectives don’t believe reports of gunshots near an attorney general’s campaign office and a state senator’s law office are related to the blasts at lawmakers’ homes.

“This is an example of law enforcement coming together and working together to solve this case. I want to thank our partners at the FBI, New MSP, BCSO for their work and the US Attorney and District Attorney for working with us. every step of the way,” said APD Chief Harold Medina.

Peña lost the race for House District 14 to current representative Miguel Garcia. Garcia had sued Peña in August 2022, arguing that Peña was ineligible to serve in the Legislature because he is a convicted felon and was not pardoned by the governor. A judge ruled in September that Peña could remain on the ticket because the law is unconstitutional.

While, county commissioners and Sen. Lopez told police, Peña showed up uninvited at their homes in November after the election. He provided them with documents that he said indicated fraud in the election results.

“This type of radicalism is a threat to our nation that has come to our doorstep right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But we will stand back and not allow this hate to cross the threshold,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said.

Peña ran unsuccessfully in November against incumbent state Rep. Miguel P. Garcia, a Democrat representing House District 14 in the South Valley. Garcia won by 48 percentage points, or about 3,600 votes.

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Former Republican candidate arrested in connection with shootings at Democratic homes