| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Republican candidate arrested in shootings of Democrats’ homes in New Mexico

According to the Albuquerque Police Department, a failed Republican state house candidate in New Mexico was detained on Monday and charged with planning recent shootings at the houses of four local political leaders.

Solomon Pena, 39, is charged by police of planning with four other men to shoot at the residences of two county commissioners and two state legislators, all of whom are Democrats, and of paying those men to do so. Police claimed to have proof that Pena had fired a few bullets.

Pena lost his election for the state House in November to an incumbent Democrat who garnered more than 73% of the votes.

He posted a photo of himself on Twitter on Nov. 15 with a “Make America Great Again” sweatshirt, a “Trump 2024” flag, and a message that he, like former President Donald Trump, was not conceding his election.

Police said at a press conference Pena had denied his election loss and had approached the commissioners and lawmakers at their homes, claiming election fraud was involved. Police said more people would be charged in the shootings and some suspects were in custody.

A lawyer for Pena could not immediately be identified.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that on Dec. 4 eight shots had been fired into a county commissioner’s home and on Dec. 11 more than 12 bullets had hit another commissioner’s home. On Jan. 3, three bullets fired into a state representative’s home had gone through her 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom, the paper reported.

Albuquerque Police “essentially discovered what we had all feared and what we had suspected — that these shootings were indeed politically motivated,” Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said at a press conference. “This was about a right-wing radical, an election denier who was arrested today and someone who did the worst imaginable thing you can do when you have a political disagreement, which is turn that to violence.”

  • Reuters