A failed Republican candidate for the New Mexico state legislature who claimed the election was “rigged” was arrested Monday for allegedly staging a series of shootings at the homes of Democratic state officials, police said.
Solomon Pena, who ran for a seat in the House of Representatives last November, was taken into custody in Albuquerque after a standoff with a SWAT team. He is accused of hiring four men to open fire on the homes of two Bernalillo County Commissioners, Adriann Barboa and Debbie O’Malley, and state Sens. Linda Lopez and Moe Maestas, authorities said.
The shootings took place between December 4, 2022 and January 5 of this year.
Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock said at least five people, including Pena, were involved in the shooting – but the former political candidate has been described by police as the “mastermind” behind the crimes and claims he was a gunman in one case.
Police believe Pena’s electoral defeat may have motivated him to organize the attacks.
“He had complaints about his election, he felt manipulated,” Gilbert Gallegos, Albuquerque Police spokesman, said Monday, according to NBC News. “Like the mayor said, he was a refuser – he doesn’t want to accept the result of his election.”
Pena, an ex-con who served seven years in prison for theft, lost his House race to incumbent Democrat Miguel P. Garcia by a vote of 5,679 to 2,033, or 74% to 26%.
The election results were unanimously approved by the New Mexico State Elections Committee.
But Pena still baselessly refuted the results.
“I didn’t lose anything, it was rigged,” Pena posted on his Twitter account on Jan. 2, three days before the latest shooting he allegedly orchestrated.
Pena reportedly met with three district commissioners and a state senator just before the shooting to discuss the results of the elections. Some of the officers he met with were attacked by the gunmen, according to Gallegos.
“One [meeting] actually caused quite a fight I think,” Gallegos said. “The shooting broke out shortly after.”
Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina called Pena the “mastermind” of the shootings.
“Pena, an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate in the 2022 election, is accused of conspiring with and paying four other men to shoot at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators,” Medina said during a news conference on Monday.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said: “This type of radicalism is a threat to our nation and has made its way to our doorstep … but I know we will fight back, and we will not let this cross the threshold.” exceeds.”
With postal wires