On Monday afternoon (Jan. 16), Chief Harold Medina of the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police said in a press conference that Solomon Peña was arrested in connection with a series of shootings targeting the homes of Democratic lawmakers. The Albuquerque Journal reported that a SWAT team went to Peña’s home and arrested him after an hour-long standoff. “It is believed he is the mastermind,” Medina said. Peña had run unsuccessfully for a seat in the state House of Representatives last November and declared that he should’ve won, even going to the homes of three of the targeted officials saying that they should not certify the results.
A police statement said that Peña hired four men to carry out the shootings and “sent text messages with addresses where he wanted them to shoot at the homes.” It is believed that he was present for the last of the shooting incidents Jan. 3rd, where shots were fired into the home of State Senator Linda Lopez, with bullets nearly missing her 10-year-old daughter. According to APD Deputy Cmdr. Kyle Hartsock, the handgun he used “malfunctioned” when he tried to fire it. The first incident took place Dec. 4 at the home of Bernalillo County commissioner Adriana Barber, and the next was Dec. 8 targeting the home of state Representative Javier Martinez. The next took place Dec. 11 at the home of Bernalillo County commissioner Debbie O’Malley.
“APD essentially discovered what we had all feared and what we had suspected — that these shootings were indeed politically motivated,” Mayor Tim Keller said to the press. “They were dangerous attacks not only to these individuals … but, fundamentally, also to democracy.” Democratic New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and House Republican Leader Ryan Lane issued statements condemning violence and praising law enforcement’s response.
Peña has a checkered past, previously serving seven years in prison for theft and other charges. He has also been an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump, even sporting a red sweatshirt with his “Make America Great Again” slogan bearing his signature in gold. Peña also claimed to have been present at the riots at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2021.