MAGA defeated candidate for the state legislature, Solomon Peña, paid gunmen to fire on the houses of four Democratic office holders
A failed New Mexico state House candidate who is a known MAGA Republican election denier was detained on Monday in connection with a spree of shootings at the residences of state and municipal Democratic officials.
According to Albuquerque police, Solomon Peña is accused of planning shootings against the residences of two state senators and two commissioners of Bernalillo County and paying four men to carry them out. Luckily the shootings left no one harmed.
According to the authorities, Peña may have been driven by resentment about his defeat in November. At a news conference early on Monday, police stated that Peña claimed election fraud caused his defeat.
The election result was 74% to 26%, with the winner by a landslide being the incumbent Democrat Miguel P. Garcia defeated Peña’s challenge for the state House.
He attempted to convince three county commissioners and a state senator that the election was stolen from him, some of whose residences were the targets of the attacks, but to no avail. He complained that his election had been rigged. He is an election denier who refuses to acknowledge the results of his election, the mayor said.
He claimed that a discussion with local and state leaders got heated.
One actually got into such a debate, I think,” Gallegos remarked. The shootings took place “shortly after.”
Pea was a prominent supporter of former president Donald Trump, who falsely blamed his defeat in the 2020 election on voter fraud. He was pictured during his campaign last year sporting a crimson “Make America Great Again” hoodie bearing the former president’s embroidered signature in gold.
Tim Keller, the mayor of Albuquerque, characterized the attacks as the result of political radicalism.
He tweeted on Monday, “This radicalism is a menace to our city, our state, and our country.” “We’ll keep fighting back against hate in all its manifestations and put an end to political violence.”
According to detectives, Peña allegedly paid four men in cash and texted them the houses he intended to attack.
Police claimed in a statement on Monday that a traffic stop of Peña’s car early on January 3 which was being driven by Jose Trujillo, who was later detained on suspicion of a felony warrant was crucial to their investigation.
More over 800 fentanyl pills were found in the center console after the vehicle underwent an “inventory search,” legally required to safely impound a vehicle after an arrest, according to police.
Two handguns were also discovered in the Nissan and according to the most recent police statement, one of them looked to have fired bullets outside the residence of state senator Linda Lopez around 40 minutes before the traffic stop and at a distance of 4 miles.
According to the statement, one of the weapons fits the description of the one that authorities claim Peña used in one of the four shootings. Police claim that he hired a man to carry out the shooting when his gun malfunctioned. In their statement Monday night, police said that “another shooter” had fired more than a dozen shots from a different weapon.
A round casing discovered in the Maxima also matched those discovered at the scene of another incident, which occurred on December 8 outside the home of the newly elected state House Speaker Javier Martinez, according to authorities.
One further casing was discovered in a different, reported-stolen vehicle that authorities claim was driven by one of the purported Pea-hired gunmen. According to authorities, that casing was a match to a complaint of gunfire on December 4 outside Adriann Barboa, a Bernalillo County Commissionerresidence ,’s in Southeast Albuquerque.
The last shooting that authorities believe was related to Peña occurred on December 11 and involved more than a dozen shots being fired at the residence of Debbie O’Malley, who was then a commissioner for Bernalillo County.
Police claimed they had taken control of a gun that might have been used in one of the shootings on Jan. 9 when they announced the arrest of another suspect in the investigation. In addition to Peña, four other people were allegedly engaged, according to police, who expect to make more arrests and charges. The suspect’s situation was unclear as of January 9, and authorities did not respond to a request for clarification.
Police Chief Harold Medina identified Peña as the shootings’ instigator on Monday.
He stated at the news conference on Monday that “it is thought that he is the mastermind behind this.”
Peña was taken into custody by a SWAT team at his flat on Monday, according to the police.
It was unclear if Pea had hired legal representation for the matter. A message left on his campaign website asking a question received no answer.
Peña was a failed candidate for New Mexico House District 14, which includes the South Valley of the Albuquerque metropolitan region.
Peña had spent nearly seven years in prison for burglary during his campaign last year.
Police reported Monday night that election winner Garcia tried unsuccessfully to have Peña’s felony conviction disqualify him from the Legislature last year.