New Mexico

Solomon Pena arrested in shootings targeting Democratic politicians’ homes


A former Republican nominee for the New Mexico House was arrested Monday for allegedly orchestrating a series of shootings targeting the homes and offices of Democratic state officials this winter, Albuquerque officials said.

Solomon Pena, who lost the November election to incumbent Congressman Miguel P. Garcia (D), paid another person an undisclosed amount of money to carry out at least two of the shootings and pulled the trigger in the latest shooting earlier this month. Kyle Hartsock, acting commander of the Albuquerque Police Department said Monday.

Five people were involved in the plot, but it’s unclear if the first gunman knew the targets were elected Democrats, police said. The investigation is ongoing, Hartsock said. Albuquerque SWAT officers took Pena into custody Monday afternoon.

Police are investigating 5 shootings at New Mexico Democrat homes and offices

In early January, Albuquerque police and federal agents began an investigation into whether the shootings that hit Democrat homes and offices that winter were connected or politically motivated.

“APD essentially found what we all feared and suspected, that these shootings were in fact politically motivated,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller (D) said Monday afternoon. “This person was a candidate for office against a member of the Democratic House of Representatives as recently as November.”

Multiple shots hit the walls and doors of buildings in each shooting, although no injuries were reported. Some elected officials wrote on social media about living in fear.

During a news conference Monday, law enforcement officials alleged that Pena was involved in four separate shootings that began in early December.

Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, State Senators Linda Lopez (D) and Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D) and former commissioner Debbie O’Malley were all affected by the four separate shootings. Police did not claim Monday that Pena was involved in a fifth shooting allegedly aimed at the empty campaign office of New Mexico Attorney General-elect Raúl Torrez.

The first shooting occurred on Dec. 4 when eight shots were fired at Barboa’s home in southeast Albuquerque, police said.

“In early December, I was returning to my house from Christmas shopping, which was shot up. It was frightening. My house had four shots through the front door and windows where just hours before my grandchild and I were playing in the living room,” Barboa wrote in a Facebook post.

This story is evolving and updated.

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