Solomon Pena, a former Republican candidate for the New Mexico House of Representatives who is accused of planning multiple shootings in the homes of Democratic lawmakers after losing his race, is facing multiple criminal charges before his first scheduled court appearance. No one was injured in any of the shootings.
Pena,four counts each of shooting at an apartment or occupied building, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, and conspiracy to commit a crime, along with one count each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unlawful criminal solicitation. He was also charged with a felony: “obtaining, transporting, or possessing by specified persons a firearm or destructive device.”
Pena, who is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque,at the homes of four Democratic lawmakers in Albuquerque since early December, according to Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina. Pena hired four accomplices to fire bullets into the homes of two state legislators and two county commissioners, Medina told reporters in a news conference Monday.
Another suspect wasHowever, it is unclear whether this person is an accomplice in the case.
Police said Pena falsely claimed his own race, which he lost to incumbent Democratic Rep. Miguel P. Garcia in a landslide in November, was “fixed.”
Mayor Tim Keller called Pena, who ran on a Make America Great Again platform, a “right-wing extremist” and “election denier” as well as “someone who has done the worst thing you can do when you have a political disagreement, which in turn.” means violence.”
Adriann Barboa, one of the elected officials who police said was attacked by Pena and his accomplices, said Pena confronted her at her home shortly after the election. As Bernillo County Commissioner, she was involved in certifying election votes. Barboa told CBS News Tuesday that Pena told her not to confirm the election.
“He said ‘I want results now’ and he was definitely aggressive,” said Barboa.
Later in December, Barboa was returning home from Christmas shopping to find evidence of gunshots.
“My home was shot four times right through my front door, through my back window, right through my living room and kitchen right where I was playing with my brand new grandchild just hours before,” Barboa said.
No one was injured in the shooting at Barboa’s home or any other crime scene. In one instance, the 10-year-old daughter of a state legislature was awakened by debris falling on her bed, but was not physically injured. According to a police report, Pena was unhappy with these results and asked his accomplices to “shoot deeper into houses and do it earlier in the evening…when the targets are less likely to be.”
House Speaker Javier Martinez, another official whom police said was the target of the shooting, said events over the past month reminded him of the violence in his native Mexico.
“(Mexico) is a place where politics and journalism can actually kill you,” Martinez said. “I never thought that could be the case in my own country here.”